Michael Schumacher late Thursday paid an emotional farewell to Ross Brawn, who played a major role in all his seven Formula One world titles and has now stepped down as Ferrari technical director. "I celebrated all my Formula One success with or through Ross, so I want to say thank you," said Schumacher, who himself retired from racing last weekend, on his website.
"He was always important for the team with his strong personality and natural authority. Ross will always be a special point of reference for me," said Schumacher.
Brawn, was technical director at Benetton when Schumacher won his first two world titles 1994 and 1995. He then moved to Ferrari with Michael in 1996
Ferrari said in a statement that Brawn has "decided to turn his attention to his personal life."
The anticipated move is the latest in a major personnel shake-up at Ferrari which comes along with Schumacher's retirement.
Team director Jean Todt, who playing a major role in bringing Schumacher and Brawn to Ferrari, moves on after 13 years to Ferrari chief executive. Ferrari said Wednesday that the Frenchman will also oversee the F1 team's restructuring as temporary managing director.
Paolo Martinelli moves on from sports director to "an important role in the Fiat Group" which owns Ferrari. Schumacher said that Martinelli did a terrific job has head of the engine department, pointing out that he had just two engine failures in the past six years.
Former Ferrari industrial director Mario Almondo has been named Brawn's successor and Stefano Domenicali takes Martinelli's place.