Whitmarsh's arrival at Aston Martin won't impact Szafnauer's role


Aston Martin team principal and CEO, Otmar Szafnauer insists that Martin Whitmarsh's arrival at the company will not impact his role.

Last month, Aston Martin announced the recruitment of former McLaren man, Martin Whitmarsh in the newly created role of Group Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin Performance Technologies, the similarly newly created company intended to "encompass the brand’s Formula One activities and also develop, apply and take to market the Group’s technical capabilities and intellectual property, with the aim of providing best-in-class innovation, engineering, testing and manufacturing services across a variety of key industry sectors".

Whitmarsh left McLaren in late 2014 after 25 years during which time he held a number of senior positions including Group Chief Executive Officer and Formula One Team Principal.

During his time, along with Ron Dennis, Whitmarsh had diversified its business beyond F1, launching McLaren Automotive and McLaren Applied Technologies.

Since 2014 he has been involved Ben Ainslie's Americas Cup project as well as being appointed chairman of BAR Technologies, not to mention his role on the global advisory board of Formula E and the Hamilton Commission. In late 2017, the FIA announced that Whitmarsh had been invited to act as a consultant as it prepared to finally introduce a budget cap to F1.

Following his recruitment by Aston Martin, some wondered if this meant that Otmar Szafnauer's days might be numbered. However, the former BAR and Honda man insists that Whitmarsh's role encompasses the whole Aston Martin company and will therefore not impact his role.

"The F1 side will remain under my leadership and remit," he said, according to Motorsport.com. "So I'll still be team principal and CEO.

"Martin will be group CEO," he added, "with the F1 side reporting through him. So I guess the only thing that hasn't been planned is how much of his time - because he's got the entire group - does he spend on each one of those entities. I would imagine at the beginning most of his time will be spent growing the Aston Martin Performance Technologies area, which is where his most recent expertise lies, and not focus so much on F1. But the bit that hasn't been planned is how much of his time will be spent where.

"He was there at McLaren when they started doing that, so he's got that experience, and he can lead us to shortcuts in doing that," he said. "He's also had seven years now of boat racing experience, including starting a new company that is taking technologies from boat racing and moving that technology into I think cargo ships.

"It's an applied technology type business, technology transfer. He's got good experience in that, and he'll help us shortcut the development of our performance technology business."

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Published: 03/10/2021
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