Ross Brawn has cited his “own painful experience” spearheading F1 teams in describing the messy ‘divorce’ between Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel.
Now the Motorsport Managing Director of Formula 1, Brawn held senior positions with five F1 constructors between 1991 and 2013, most recently at his own self-titled team, who won the World Championship in 2009, and Mercedes who then bought them out.
Therefore, the 65-year-old is ideally qualified to discuss what is happening at Ferrari – with whom he enjoyed huge success in his stint from 1997-2006 – after they informed Vettel before this season got under way that he was not being retained for next year.
The situation between the Scuderia and the four-time former World Champion has soured, with increasingly fractious communication over the team radio during races in addition to some below-par performances from Vettel in a car less competitive than he is used to.
“It’s tough to watch Sebastian and Ferrari go through the motions right now, with both sides knowing the end of their relationship is almost upon them,” said Brawn.
“They are in that period of a divorce where the papers have been served but the divorce hasn’t gone through. It’s very awkward.
“The chemistry between a driver and their team is so important. You are part of a team and you succeed as a team and fail as a team. Managing that dynamic is always a challenge.
“When a driver has been told he is no longer needed, it’s one of the most difficult times for a team. He knows you no longer want him and the cracks appear quickly.
“It’s up to the team to manage it as best they can. From my own painful experience, I know drivers in this situation can be a handful.”
After the Spanish Grand Prix, in which he finished P7, Vettel said “my opinion is not important anymore” when asked during an interview what Ferrari needed to do to improve.
Team boss Mattia Binotto responded: “I think it’s an answer which is in line with his disappointment of not being able to be part of the team next year.
“When he says so, I think he means it’s not his job anymore to give advices for the future.
“Having said so, we are working well with him.”