With this year's Formula One World Championship tied up and just three grands prix left to go, we're heading into another game of musical chairs in the offseason. But while most eyes will be fixed on changes in the driver lineup for next season, one of the most important could be found in the top management.
Though several top strategists and engineers are changing teams, the biggest wild-card could be held by one Ross Brawn. For those unfamiliar, Brawn has orchestrated multiple world titles at Benetton, Ferrari and his own Brawn GP team before it was bought by Mercedes-Benz, from which he is now departing.
The impasse over contract negotiations reportedly came down to his role at the team after Mercedes hired Toto Wolff away from Williams and Paddy Lowe from McLaren to split the role of team principal previously held by Brawn. Team chairman Niki Lauda apparently wanted to find a way to keep Brawn on board, but with authority now resting in the hands of others, the mastermind race strategist has now reportedly decided to leave.
With his successors already in place, the big question is not over what Mercedes will do without him – struggling as it has for the past four seasons to find its form even with drivers like Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg manning the wheel – but what Brawn will do next. Rumors have pointed to a potential role directing Honda's F1 engine program, but at this point anything's a possibility.