PEOPLE: ROSS BRAWN

Name: Ross Brawn
Nationality: Great Britain

Ross Brawn

Ross Brawn 

 © Inside F1, Inc.

Taken on as a trainee by the British Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, near Didcot, Oxfordshire, Brawn spent five years studying instrumentation in the early 1970s. His passion was racing and in 1976 he quit the atomic industry and got a job with March Engineering at Bicester as a milling machine operator. This led to a job as a Formula 3 mechanic with March. He then moved over to Frank Williams's newly-formed Williams Grand Prix Engineering in an old carpet warehouse in Didcot - once again as a machinist.

As Williams found success with the FW07, Brawn moved up within the company, becoming a technician in Frank Dernie's research and development department and later - after the team had moved to its new factory in Basil Hill Road - an aerodynamicist, working in the team's own tunnel. After eight years with the team he followed fellow Williams man Neil Oatley (later technical director at McLaren) to Carl Haas's FORCE/Beatrice team where he was employed as an aerodynamicist. When that team folded at the end of 1986 Brawn was offered the job of chief designer at Arrows.

Arrows had a good budget from American investment company USF&G and was using Megatron (ex-BMW turbo) engines. The A10 and the 1988 A10B were very successful with the team finishing fourth in the World Championship in 1988. This attracted the attention of Tom Walkinshaw, who was looking for someone to design a Jaguar sportscar for him at nearby Kidlington. Brawn joined TWR in 1989 and, after establishing a design center, he produced the XJR-14, the first sportscar to have state-of-the-art F1 technology. The Brawn-designed Jaguars won the 1991 Sportscar World Championship. In July that year Walkinshaw bought into the Benetton F1 team and in the autumn Brawn was appointed technical director of Benetton Formula, coordinating all technical aspects of the team, while Rory Byrne designed the cars in which Michael Schumacher won two successive championships in 1994 and 95.

Brawn moved to Ferrari in December 1996 as technical director and played an important role in building the team up towards Schumacher's string of World Championship successes in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

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