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F1 NEWS 

Ferrari always open to Brawn return

Ferrari's door will always be open to former technical director Ross Brawn should he seek to return after a break from Formula One, his replacement said on Thursday.

"Our approach is that outstanding people are always considered part of the team..... If he comes back, it will be up to him to decide what role he has," Mario Almondo told a news conference at Ferrari's winter retreat in the Dolomites.

"I had a call with Ross a few days ago and he was fishing in Argentina," added Almondo, who said that his own role was different to that of Brawn's in that more of the responsibility had been delegated to other members of the team.

Brawn was Ferrari's technical director throughout the most dominant period in their history, helping them to six successive constructors' titles and Michael Schumacher to five championships in a row.

He also helped Schumacher win his first two titles with Benetton.

The Briton left at the end of last year on a 'sabbatical', leaving open the possibility of a return. There has already been speculation that he could come back as successor to team boss Jean Todt.

Under Almondo, the new technical team includes Aldo Costa, who is responsible for the chassis with Gilles Simon in charge of the engine.

"I might be present at the races sometimes and sometimes I might not. The thing to keep in mind is that preparation for the races is the key," said Almondo.

Ferrari will present details of their new car on Sunday at their Maranello headquarters and Almondo gave few clues to what the new vehicle will feature.

"It is an innovative machine, we have worked on aerodynamics and suspension in particular but also in all areas. We have made a good start," he said.

"There is no great new technology in the car compared with last year but there are changes, it is more of an evolution," added Almondo.

The role of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who retired last season but continues to be involved with Ferrari, remains vague.

Almondo said that the 38-year-old had provided input during the development of the new car and would be able to take part in team discussions, even if decision-making remained with others.

"He will be able to intervene but the decisions will be taken by people with the specific responsibility," said Almondo, who added that it was not clear if the German would be present at Grands Prix.


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