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Martin Whitmarsh

Formula 1 employee

Martin Whitmarsh
Credit: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Vital statistics for Martin Whitmarsh

Martin Whitmarsh stepped into huge shoes when he took over as team principal at McLaren from the indomitable Ron Dennis. He faced many challenges, both on and off track, but experience within the McLaren Group as a whole helped him navigate those tricky waters. However, at the start of the 2014 season, Whitmarsh was replaced by Ron Dennis and disappeared from the public eye. He officially parted ways with McLaren in August that year.


Martin Whitmarsh’s mechanical engineering degree helped him get a job at British Aerospace, which in turn helped him gain experience in the research, development and analysis roles that F1 requires. He joined the McLaren Group in 1989, becoming their Head of Operations.

Eight years later, he was promoted to Managing Director, which meant overseeing the F1 team as well as liaising with partners and sponsors. Essentially, his role was to assist Ron Dennis in running the team, taking on a lot of the behind-the-scenes legwork for McLaren F1.

When Ron Dennis stepped down from the day to day running of the team, just ahead of the 2009 season, Martin Whitmarsh was given the team principal role. It was a difficult time for McLaren, as they endured an uncompetitive start to the 2009 season, but things rapidly improved.

Despite navigating some tricky waters, Whitmarsh also took on the role of President of the Formula One Teams’ Association, a group that worked through a potential breakaway, push for rules and regulations to be made or broken, and aim to bring F1 closer to the fans. His association with the sport came to an abrupt end at the start of 2014, however, when Ron Dennis returned to the helm of McLaren.

Whitmarsh disappeared from the sport and was absent from the public eye for several months, creating a global hunt for a sighting. He officially left McLaren in August.