News from Italy today suggests that a restructuring within the Mercedes Formula One team could result in team boss Ross Brawn having a diminished role in 2011.
There have been reports in recent weeks that Brawn and Mercedes’ Norbert Haug have not been seeing eye-to-eye and that Brawn might be seriously thinking about retirement — again — as a result.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher returned to racing with the team this year and his performance has not been of world-championship calibre. He has a three-year contract and has maintained that he intends to fulfill it, even though for most of the year he has been upstaged by his younger teammate, Nico Rosberg, leading some observers to suggest that Schumacher’s sub-par performance might have more to do with him than with the car.
If Brawn steps aside as team principal, would Schumacher stop race-driving and take over that job?
He would very quickly become “the face” of Mercedes’ F1 team, which means he would still be front-and-centre in the motorsport world. If part of the deal was a testing role, it would be even better because he could continue to drive up-to-date Formula One cars.
It would be the perfect way to make a graceful exit from race-driving and to safeguard his reputation as one of the sport's all-time greats, which has been taking a bit of a beating this season.
It’s just a suggestion, but one that I believe has merit.