Former Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has played down suggestions that he could be named to fill the vacant CEO position at McLaren, insisting that he remains intent on a sabbatical spent with rod and reel.
Having finally parted company in December with the team that had grown out of his eponymous title-winning outfit, Brawn said that he would not be rushed into taking up another F1 role, and his mood hadn't changed as he appeared on stage at London's Royal Opera House to accept his induction into the Motor Sport
Hall of Fame.
Just 48 hours earlier, McLaren had confirmed the appointment of former Lotus team principal Eric Boullier as its new 'racing director', revealing that the Frenchman would report to an as yet unnamed CEO. With no mention of Martin Whitmarsh – and the erstwhile team principal conspicuous by his absence from the team's 2014 launch – the rumour mill cranked into action to suggest that Brawn would be an ideal candidate to fill the gap in McLaren's management tree, particularly knowing that the team would be linking up with Honda from 2015.
“I am very flattered but, simply, I don't want to get involved or engaged,” the 59-year old told Sky Sports
after the ceremony, “Any approaches I've had, I have replied with a polite rebuff.
"Come the summer I may take stock and things may change - never say never - but it's not my plan. I'm focused on my fishing at the moment, no discussions, no comments….”
Brawn was clearly content to see his former employer enjoying better fortunes in the opening pre-season test than some of its closest rivals, despite Lewis Hamilton crashing the new W05 on the first afternoon. Team-mate Nico Rosberg went fourth fastest on day two, but the car seemed more reliable than most as the German racked up nearly 100 laps.
"We are going to see probably the biggest challenge that F1 teams have faced for a very long time," Brawn admitted, "We started this project a long time ago and I think it will pay off. I've got a lot of very good friends there who I want to succeed and I'll watch with some pleasure if Mercedes can win the championship this year."
Maybe not the words of a man destined to start the season at one of the Three Pointed Star's biggest rivals.