Ross Brawn is being tipped to replace Martin Whitmarsh and take over as McLaren F1 team principal in the wake of the announcement this week that Ron Dennis has been reappointed as McLaren Group CEO.
According to reports by British newspaper, The Telegraph
, the paddock is 'awash with speculation that Brawn could end his sabbatical early to take over'.
“McLaren did not deny the reports, but said they 'would not get involved in commenting on that kind of media speculation',” the paper says.
It also added that Dennis received a standing ovation when it was announced he was returning to the helm on Thursday
Brawn was linked to a number of positions last year as rumours intensified about his pending exit from Mercedes – something that was made official at the end of November - and in addition to McLaren, it has also been speculated he might go back to Ferrari or join Williams. A role with the FIA has been mooted too. Brawn though has said he won't make any decision until the summer.
“I did have a conversation with him but we were shooting together”, Dennis told BBC Sport
last year when quizzed on the Brawn to McLaren speculation.
“We were having a chat and we're mature motor racing people so of course you're going to talk about life. But going beyond that, as you would expect, it's normal stuff. People probe around, the possible, the impossible. My understanding is he intends to take a year off.”
Meanwhile, former F1 racer, John Watson has said he is not convinced there is much truth in the reports.
“Ross Brawn, who left his post at Mercedes last year, is said to be among the leading candidates to replace Whitmarsh if he is forced out. While Ross may not be at Mercedes any more there are contractual obligations which might obstruct him from accepting a job at McLaren, and personally, I can't see it happening,” Watson wrote in an article for The Daily Mail
“Ross is coming up to his 60th birthday shortly and whether he wants to get back into the maelstrom of Formula One is also up for debate. Would he want to return to the sport? I am not sure. I don't think it is likely, but then again I did not expect Ron to make this move either.”
“[Furthermore] with all that said, if Ron were to announce that he has appointed Ross Brawn as team principal that would draw everybody's breath.
"It would be a massive coup,” Watson concluded.