News that former Ferrari and Mercedes team leader Ross Brawn is “definitely retiring”, to concentrate at least until the summer on his favourite hobby of fishing, appears to come at absolutely the wrong time for Formula 1.

Early indications are that, as a result of comprehensive rule changes, F1 is heading into an era of unprecedented technical turmoil. When Red Bull, by far the sport’s biggest winner of the past three years, has to call off a season-opening test because its engines won’t work, you can be damned sure the problems are urgent and very serious.

At times like this, it is the calmest and most experienced heads that get teams get back on track, and Brawn’s is the calmest and most experienced of the lot — he proved it repeatedly at Ferrari, at his own Brawn GP team, and most recently at Mercedes.