Speculation over Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone's eventual replacement has been rife after US-based communications and entertainment company Liberty Media completed the purchase of the series. Reports say the F1 deal has two-stages, with Ecclestone retaining his position during the initial part. Phase 2 would see the 85-year-old exit the series.

Liberty Media paid $8.5 billion to take over Formula 1 in September, and Ecclestone has said he might leave F1 on his own volition if Liberty Media's actions do not match his visions.

So far, F1 legends such as Niki Lauda have been touted as Ecclestone's replacement, with Lauda himself downplaying the rumours. The Guardian suggested the founder and CEO of Formula E, Alejandro Agag would be a suitable contender, but reports have surfaced that Ross Brawn might have already signed a deal with Liberty Media. According to Auto Bild Motorsport, Brawn, who has a history of running the Ferrari and Mercedes teams, has already been approved by the FIA to take over F1. The FIA is currently being led by Brawn's former colleague at Ferrari, Jean Todt.

Brawn first made his mark in F1 in the 1970s at March Engineering following a position at Williams. For a time, he worked at Jaguar, helping create the World Sportscar Championship-winning XJR14 of 1991. That year he returned to F1, working at Benetton before moving to Ferrari. From there, he moved to Honda, and when the manufacturer left F1 Brawn ended up buying and renaming the team. The Brawn team then won the 2009 F1 championship with Jenson Button driving, using Mercedes-Benz engines. The current Mercedes-Benz GP Team is a development of the Brawn team, after the manufacturer acquired it in 2010. Brawn left the team in 2013.

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