Former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has switched racing on tarmac for water after joining Ben Ainslie Racing as CEO ahead of the team's aim of winning the Americas Cup and bringing the race back to British waters.

Whitmarsh, former chief executive of The McLaren Group, will officially join the team's board in April and the move also sparks up a former F1 partnership with Red Bull designer Adrian Newey, who acts as an external consultant for the Portsmouth-based sailing team. Newey worked with Whitmarsh at McLaren between 1997 and 2006 and the new CEO is delighted to restart former working relations.

"After 25 years at McLaren it's great to be able to turn my energies and experience to such an exciting sporting and technical challenge," Whitmarsh added. "McLaren developed into a multifaceted business, and I hope that my experience will help BAR in its aspiration for a sustainable business model, along with the clear goal of winning the America's Cup and bringing it back to British waters."

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Whitemarsh was recommended to four-time Olympic gold medal winner Sir Ben Ainslie by a host a names in the Formula 1 fraternity, including Newey and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. The Brit will report directly to Ainslie, BAR's team principal and the board.

"I'm delighted that Martin is joining us," Ainslie said. "When we first started to put together the plan for BAR, McLaren were one of the aspirations. So it's particularly appropriate to have one of the original architects of that model as our new CEO. Martin came highly recommended by many authoritative figures in the motorsport industry, and already has good relationships with several of our key partners, particularly the head of Red Bull Advanced Technologies, Adrian Newey."

Ainslie won the Americas Cup in 2014 with Oracle team USA and now forms the head of a British team in the hunt for the 2015 crown.

Whitmarsh will join the team ahead of its planned move into the new purpose-built headquarters in Portsmouth and returns to the south coast city where he studied engineering at university.