Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn isn’t known as “the Maestro” for nothing. He helped mastermind uberdriver Michael Schumacher’s seven world titles at Benetton and Ferrari, and he later went on to snooker the field in 2009 with his eponymously badged Brawn, which cleverly exploited a loophole in the tech regs by employing a controversial double diffuser, and for the first half of the season seemed bullet proof.
The Brawn, of course, was originally meant to be a Honda, but Honda wanted out of the game, after failing dismally for several years in their efforts to secure a title. The closest they came was in 2006, when Jenson Button won a single race and came in sixth in the point standings.
At the end of 2008, Honda decided they’d finally had enough, and they sold the team to Brawn and Co. for the symbolic price of one British pound sterling. They additionally funded the 2009 season for the team, leaving approximately 120 million euros in the team’s treasury. Apparently, this was done as a face-saving gesture, in light of their sudden departure from the sport.
All well and good, such as it was. But the Brawn badged team seemed destined for a takeover from the start. After only a year, Brawn and his original management buy-out group sold most of their shares to Daimler-Benz, the parent company of Mercedes. Early this year, Brawn completed the transfer of his equity in the company, selling the balance of his shares to Daimler.
All told, he is said to have made over 100 million euros on the deal. Not bad when your cost basis is less than a couple of bucks. This must be a double blow to Honda: not only did they miss the final glory that would have been theirs if they’d stuck it out just one more year, but they also missed a payday that would have come their way if they, not Brawn, had sold the family store to Daimler Benz.
Once again, the Maestro earns his moniker.