Watson turned down Aston Martin team principal role

Jamie Woodhouse
Aston Martin do a practice pit stop. Bahrain. March 2022.

The Aston Martin crew perform a practice pit stop. Bahrain. March 2022.

Former AlphaTauri team manager Graham Watson said he turned down the offer to become team principal at Aston Martin.

After the Aston Martin name returned to Formula 1 for 2021, following Lance Stroll’s rebranding of his Racing Point team, several big changes were made to the team personnel.

One of them came at the end of the campaign, as Otmar Szafnauer left his team principal role, the Romanian-American engineer now serving in that same position at Alpine.

Ultimately, Aston Martin appointed Mike Krack as his replacement, the former boss of BMW’s motorsports programmes.

But, according to Watson, that came after they had offered him the job by phone call while he was on holiday with his wife in Dubai.

“At first I thought someone was joking at me,” he said as per Formule1.nl.

“My wife asked when I fell silent for a moment: What’s going on? I said: they want me to be team principal at Aston Martin.”

Sebastian Vettel drives the Aston Martin AMR22. Bahrain, March 2022.
Sebastian Vettel drives the Aston Martin AMR22 on soft tyres. Bahrain, March 2022.

Having asked for some time to ponder the offer, Watson ultimately decided not to accept it.

He would explain that there are a great deal of politics going on for a team principal, a part of Formula 1 which he does not feel cut out for managing.

“A team boss sometimes has to twist the truth a bit, be very political,” he said.

“And I honestly am not. I’m a New Zealander, quite direct and say what is on my mind.”

Watson has though taken up a new role in Formula 1, working alongside the Formula One Group’s managing director Ross Brawn as the head of race operations.

His experiences of that position so far have been positive, with Watson confirming that he feels “comfortable” in the role.

“I like it so far, I feel comfortable there,” he stated.


The start of the 2022 Formula 1 season is now fast approaching, with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20 set to kick-off the 2022 season.

Currently consisting of 22 races, the calendar may well expand to a record 23 as originally planned, should a replacement for the Russian Grand Prix be finalised.


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Watson turned down Aston Martin team principal role

Graham Watson reveals that he was approached to become Aston Martin team principal.