Whitmarsh makes shock move to Aston Martin

Henry Valantine
Martin Whitmarsh back in McLaren days, now appointed by Aston Martin. Silverstone 2013

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh arrives ahead of third practice for the 2013 Santander British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit, Towcester.

Former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has made a surprise return to Formula 1, joining Aston Martin as Group CEO of their new Performance Technologies division.

Whitmarsh had left Formula 1 in 2014 and moved to become chief executive of the Ineos Team UK America’s Cup sailing team, but an announcement on Tuesday confirmed the 63-year-old will be heading to the Silverstone team at the start of October to make a comeback in motorsport.

Aston Martin have made no secret of their desire to reach the front of the field by investing heavily in the team and, while Lawrence Stroll admitted success would take time to achieve, Whitmarsh’s appointment is certainly a statement of intent from them.

Aston executive chairman Stroll said in a statement: “I am very pleased to announce that Martin [Whitmarsh] will be joining us as Group Chief Executive Officer of the new Aston Martin Performance Technologies, from October 1st 2021.

“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 Cognizant Formula One Team into a Formula One World Championship-winning organisation within the next four to five years, and evolving it into a £1 billion business over a similar time period.

“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.”

Check all the latest 2021 teamwear via the official Formula 1 store

“I am delighted to have been appointed by Lawrence [Stroll] to the position of Group Chief Executive Officer of the new Aston Martin Performance Technologies, from October 1st 2021,” Whitmarsh said upon the shock confirmation.

“I have known and admired Lawrence 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.

“Lawrence intends Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team to win Formula One 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 One, 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.

“Last but far from least, I am very enthused about the formation of the new Aston Martin Performance Technologies, under which corporate umbrella Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team will sit, and I am excited about the prospect of developing and applying our technical capabilities and intellectual property as a successful and profitable new business.”