Ex-McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh joins America’s Cup sailing team

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Former McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh will be taking up a new challenge in 2015 after it was announced today that he has joined Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup sailing team.

Whitmarsh took over as McLaren team principal following Ron Dennis’ resignation in 2009, but was fired after a disappointing 2013 season, ending his 25-year spell with the company.

After going on gardening leave, Whitmarsh was linked with a number of other roles in F1, but has now reappeared in sailing as CEO of Ben Ainslie Racing.

“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 said in a statement.

“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.”

Ainslie, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, was pleased to welcome Whitmarsh to his team, saying that he admired the McLaren business and management model.

“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.”

Newey is also involved with competitive sailing now as part his new role at Red Bull, having taken a step back from his F1 commitments to delve into other technologies for the energy drink brand.