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.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.