RACE DEBRIEF

    Former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh is returning to Formula 1 in a new role with Aston Martin – and says he is “utterly convinced” the British outfit can become a title-winning team.

    Whitmarsh became one of the biggest figures in the sport in his 25 years with McLaren, eventually succeeding Ron Dennis as Team Principal in 2008. He worked with many of the team’s most famous drivers and helped win World Championship titles with Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton.

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    He left McLaren in 2014 and has since been working outside the sport, but will now return to F1 as Group Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin Performance Technologies, a role that will oversee the manufacturer’s Formula 1 team, as well as looking at ways to use the brand’s technical know-how in other industries.

    He said: “I have known and admired Lawrence [Stroll, Aston Martin Executive Chairman] for many years, and I have always been extremely impressed by his formidable business acumen and his seemingly inexhaustible ambition.

    "Equally, I have always respected ‘Team Silverstone’, if I can call it that, which has often punched above its weight under its various previous incarnations, and which now has the weight with which to punch harder than ever before.

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    Martin Whitmarsh was in a McLaren Group management position from 1989-2014

    “Lawrence intends Aston Martin to win Formula 1 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 Formula 1, 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.

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    “Last but far from least, I am very enthused about the formation of the new Aston Martin Performance Technologies, and I am excited about the prospect of developing and applying our technical capabilities and intellectual property as a successful and profitable new business.”

    Stroll added: “Martin will enjoy senior leadership responsibility and will assist and support me in setting the new strategic direction for Aston Martin Performance Technologies and its subsidiaries, including the crucial objective of leading the transformation of Aston Martin into a Formula 1 World Championship-winning organisation within the next four to five years, and evolving it into a £1 billion business over a similar time period.

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    Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, (L) with Aston Martin's owner Lawrence Stroll (R)

    “Martin has enjoyed a long, successful and high-profile career, spanning the motorsport, automotive, aerospace, marine and renewable-energy sectors. Moreover, he is a proven winner in Formula 1. He is therefore the ideal person for the job of working with me and our senior management team to lead and inspire our workforce to future success both on and off track.”

    Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer said Whitmarsh’s arrival should allow him to concentrate his efforts fully on the race team.

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    “Our ambitions are to win in everything we do, and, despite the increasing scope and future growth of our off-track activities, our focus on winning in Formula 1 remains undiminished,” he said. “Martin’s arrival will allow me to put 100 per cent of my energies into making Aston Martin a winning machine.”

    Whitmarsh will begin his new role next month.