Martin Whitmarsh: Ex-McLaren boss returns to Formula 1 with Aston Martin

Formula 1
Martin Whitmarsh and Lewis Hamilton on the podium at the United States Grand Prix in 2012

Former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh is returning to Formula 1 with the Aston Martin team.

The 63-year-old is to oversee Aston Martin’s F1 project as chief executive officer of a newly established company, Aston Martin Performance Technologies.

Aston Martin F1 CEO and team principal Otmar Szafnauer will report to Whitmarsh, with both men answerable to Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll.

Whitmarsh is “the ideal person” to lead Aston Martin to success, Stroll said.

“Martin has enjoyed a long, successful and high-profile career, spanning the motorsport, automotive, aerospace, marine and renewable-energy sectors,” the Canadian billionaire added. “Moreover, he is a proven winner in Formula 1.”

Whitmarsh was McLaren F1’s team principal and chief executive officer, as well as CEO of the McLaren Group, from 2009 to 2014, before being sacked by chairman Ron Dennis, who was himself removed from the company three years later.

Since then, Whitmarsh has been CEO of the Ineos America’s Cup team, as well as doing some behind-the-scenes consulting in F1.

Last year, he was also appointed a member of the Hamilton Commission, set up by seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton to find solutions to the lack of representation of ethnic minorities in the British motorsport industry.

Whitmarsh said he had been impressed by Stroll’s “formidable business acumen and his seemingly inexhaustible ambition”.

He added: “Lawrence intends Aston Martin to win F1 World Championships, plain and simple, and I would not have joined him in that endeavour unless I was utterly convinced that it was an entirely achievable aim.

“I know what it takes to win in F1 and, inspired by Lawrence’s leadership and backed by the skill, passion and resolve of the workforce, I intend to do whatever I can to make sure that our team becomes the winning operation that Lawrence is determined that it should be.”

Aston Martin Performance Technologies will be similar in nature to equivalent, well-established companies at McLaren and Williams which apply F1 expertise and technology to areas outside the sport.

Whitmarsh’s appointment follows months of speculation that Aston Martin were looking for a senior manager to either replace or oversee Szafnauer at their F1 team.

Aston Martin say Whitmarsh’s appointment is intended to be in addition to the current management structure of the F1 team and that Szafnauer will remain in his position as the day-to-day boss of F1 operations.

Szafnauer said: “Martin is an experienced and capable business leader, extremely successful for McLaren in F1, and I am very much looking forward to working with him.

“Martin’s arrival will allow me to put 100 per cent of my energies into making Aston Martin F1 team a winning machine.”

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