Whitmarsh “saddened” by current state of Formula 1

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Former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh feels saddened by the current state of Formula 1, believing that it may need to “crash and burn” before returning to its heyday.

Whitmarsh left McLaren at the beginning of 2014 to make way for returning CEO Ron Dennis, who now leads the team alongside racing director Eric Boullier.

The Briton has since taken up a new role with Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup yachting team, working as its chief executive.

Speaking to Reuters earlier this week, Whitmarsh offered some thoughts on the current state of Formula 1 despite wishing to stay at a distance from the sport.

“I am staying away as much as I can, and try not to comment on it, but I’m saddened by what’s happening in the sport,” Whitmarsh explained.

“I think it will crash and burn before it gets turned around, in my view. It will do eventually but I’m sad to see it go through the process it’s going through.”

The future of F1 is currently a key debate for those running the sport, with plans to make dramatic changes to the technical regulations being formulated for the 2017 season.

Although Whitmarsh believes that ups and downs are part and parcel of the sport, he believes that more must be done to diversify and attract more manufacturers into the sport.

“If you look at the cycle, you had the sport as it was 30 years ago, then the tobacco era which was the big growth spurt and the automotive era when we had at one time seven of the nine largest automotive companies,” Whitmarsh said.

“Then that went away with the economic crisis and it’s diversified but in order to diversify it also has to recognize, which it’s struggling with, that it has to be doing it at a slightly different level.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”