Ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, the former McLaren boss’s return to F1 was confirmed with Aston Martin, where he will head up a newly-established company, Aston Martin Performance Technologies.

The 63-year-old has not been involved in F1 since his departure from McLaren in 2014 but he brings a wealth of world championship-winning experience having spent 25 years at Woking.

Whitmarsh’s arrival will have no impact on team principal and CEO Otmar Szafnauer, who will continue to have responsibility for the day-to-day running of the F1 operation.

Instead, Whitmarsh will take on an all-encompassing role as head of group technologies, utilising the experience he has gathered in recent years working as the CEO of the Ineos America’s Cup team.

Aston Martin’s newly-created division has been inspired by set-ups at McLaren and Williams and will work in a similar manner by incorporating F1 technology and expertise to other areas of their respective businesses.

“For me it doesn’t change anything, I remain as team principal and CEO,” Szafnauer explained in an interview with Sky Sports on Friday in Sochi.

“Martin is brought in as group CEO, so we’re obviously now going to have a group of companies, very much like McLaren have done with their applied technologies. We want to do the same and extract some of the technology and IP that’s created and developed for F1 and applied elsewhere.

“Martin has a great wealth of experience doing that over the last seven years. He’s been boat racing and has also started a company that was borne out of the technology that was developed for boat racing.

“So he’s ideal to help us to grow that area of the business and he’ll be the group CEO of that.”



Under the leadership structure, Szafnauer and the F1 organisation will feedback to Whitmarsh, who in turn will report to Aston Martin chairman and team owner Lawrence Stroll.

“Martin will report to the chairman and reporting into Martin will be all the group companies underneath which Formula 1 will be one of those group companies,” Szafnaeur explained.

Stroll described Whitmarsh as “the ideal person” to lead Aston Martin to success in F1, while Whitmarsh himself was left convinced by the Silverstone-based outfit’s ambitious project.

"Lawrence intends Aston Martin to win F1 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,” Whitmarsh said.

"I know what it takes to win in F1 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.”

Aston Martin also recently formally confirmed that four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll will remain with the team for 2022.

Stroll’s plan to transform Aston Martin into a world championship-contending F1 team includes the construction of a state-of-the-art factory complete with a brand-new wind tunnel and simulator which will cost between £150-£200m and broke ground earlier this month.

Aston Martin has also signed several key figures to restructure its technical department amid an aggressive recruitment drive that has been headlined by the capture of current Red Bull aero head Dan Fallows to become its new technical director.

“The ambitions are big and it takes time,” Szafnauer said. “If you look back, Red Bull took four years from the time they bought Jaguar to start winning. Mercedes - they took four years too and they bought a championship-winning team in Brawn.

“So it does take time to build the infrastructure, get the right people in place and make sure that glue that holds us all together is right too. And then hopefully in four or five years time we’ll be knocking on the door of a championship.”