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Ferrari open to Ross Brawn return

By Sarah Holt and Ben Wyatt, CNN
updated 11:15 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ferrari team principal says Ross Brawn is "an iconic figure" at the Italian Formula One team
  • Marco Mattiacci adds everyone would like to see the former technical director back at Ferrari
  • Brawn is on a break from F1 after leaving Mercedes at the end of 2014
  • Mattiacci adds any potential return for Brawn would not impinge on his own role

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(CNN) -- Ferrari would welcome back Ross Brawn to help turn around the famous Formula One team's flagging fortunes.

As Ferrari's former technical director, Brawn helped guide the Scuderia to six constructors' titles as well as five world titles between 2000 and 2004 with Michael Schumacher.

Ferrari's new team principal Marco Mattiacci revealed to CNN he would be happy to work with the English technical guru.

"Ross Brawn is an iconic figure at [Ferrari headquarters] Maranello," Mattiacci told CNN.

"Everyone would like to have Ross or would like to see Ross back at Ferrari.

"He's one of the most respected personalities in F1 with the highest knowledge and pedigree. Everybody would be happy with someone like Ross."

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Brawn left his latest role as team principal of Mercedes in 2013 after taking the Silver Arrows to the verge of their most successful season in the sport since the 1950s.

The German team is leading this season's team and driver championships with Brawn acknowledged as a huge driving force behind the success.

In contrast, Ferrari has not won the team title since 2008 while current driver Kimi Raikkonen was the last to win the drivers' crown in 2007.

Fernando Alonso continues to drive for the team, finishing on the podium twice this season, while Raikkonen has struggled to adapt to the feel of the car under 2014's huge rule changes.

Ferrari would love to emulate Mercedes' sensational return to form, perhaps with Brawn's help.

"We've talked several times," said the Ferrari team principal, who took over the role following Stefano Domenicali's resignation in April.

"Ross has been at Ferrari. He came here with friends so it was very nice to spend a few minutes [together]."

Brawn is on a break from F1 after leaving Mercedes following a management restructure which saw former McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe arrive to lead the team alongside Toto Wolff.

However, Mattiacci made it clear that any future for Brawn with Ferrari would not undermine his tenure at the top.

Successful story

"At the moment I am the number one on the team," the Italian insisted.

"I like to work with what I have. We are building a very strong team with a medium, long-term plan.

"My role is to shorten as much as I can this plan to make it effective as soon as possible. We are building the foundation for a very successful story."

Certainly, Mattiacci is a man who has created his own story of success up to this point, following a 15-year career with the Italian marque.

Roles in Asia and Europe led to the 43-year-old becoming president of the North American business, where he picked up the 'Automotive Executive of the Year Award' following a 20% increase in sales.

So global were his previous roles that he's currently readjusting to life back in Italy for the first time in 20 years, while his young family remain in the US.

Critics argue Mattiacci lacks F1 experience, but for the man who lives by a personal motto of 'nothing is impossible', this is the time for the 'Prancing Horse' to be bullish.

And key to rediscovering their 'self confidence' will be not to repeat the mistakes of the recent past.

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Ferrari failed to take advantage of 2014's new engine formula, which opened the door to catch up on its rivals, and engine chief Luca Marmorini subsequently found himself without a job.

The Scuderia reportedly made another big money offer to Red Bull's star technical chief Adrian Newey this year, although he turned it down to stay on at Red Bull in a revised role.

A much needed reorganization of Ferrari's technical department continues to be led by James Allison, who returned to the Italian team in 2013 from the Lotus F1 team.

When asked if he was confident he might be able to tempt Brawn to also return to Ferrari, Mattiacci responded: "As I said, at the moment I'm building a new team.

"James is the technical director and I want to start from this point.

"To tango you have to have two," the classical music fan told CNN.

"Maybe Ross is happy with what he is doing."

Brawn, who turned to his hobby of fly-fishing after leaving Ferrari in 2006, might not be fishing for a return to F1 or Ferrari yet.

But if Mattiacci could persuade him to join the Italian marque he would have landed one of the sport's biggest catches.

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