Jonathan Neale

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VW director Jost Capito to become CEO of McLaren Racing

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Volkswagen director of motorsport Jost Capito has been named as the new CEO of McLaren Racing following the promotion of Jonathan Neale.

Capito has headed up Volkswagen’s motorsport interests since 2012, leading the German marque to three straight FIA World Rally Championship titles.

However, the 57-year-old will now return to Formula 1 with McLaren following a management reshuffle at Woking.

Neale has been promoted from CEO to the Chief Operating Officer of McLaren Racing, freeing up the position for Capito, who worked for Sauber between 1996 and 2001.

Eric Boullier remains the team’s racing director, and will work in tandem with Capito, while Ron Dennis still oversees all of McLaren’s interests as group CEO and executive chairman.

As per the team’s statement: “The timing of these moves will be actioned in 2016 in agreement with Jost’s current employer, and a further announcement will follow in due course.”

Dennis revealed that he approached Capito regarding a role at McLaren last summer, and is pleased to have secured his services for the 2016 season.

“I first approached Jost last summer,” Capito said. “He is an extremely impressive, competitive and ambitious individual, who comes to us with a very wide range of automotive and motorsport experience.

“From a motorsport perspective he has experience in not only the World Rally Championship but also sportscars, touring cars, motorcycle racing and Formula 1, about which he is hugely knowledgeable and infectiously passionate.

“I am therefore delighted to welcome Jost to McLaren, and I am certain that he will work extremely well with Eric and all at McLaren Racing, building on the very good work they have already done to take the McLaren-Honda programme forward towards grand prix victories and world championship successes.”

Neale also welcomed Capito to the team, and is relishing the opportunity to take on an increased role within the McLaren setup.

“After 15 years in senior roles within McLaren Racing, most recently as COO and acting CEO, I am excited to be moving up to take on a wider remit, working directly with Ron to assist his leadership of McLaren Technology Group,” Neale said.

“I have enjoyed my time at McLaren Racing, and will of course remain closely involved in supporting Jost’s and Eric’s efforts to optimise the future success of the McLaren-Honda programme.

“But I am equally conscious of my new areas of responsibility and influence within McLaren Technology Group, and  I am particularly keen to bring to bear my wider industry expertise and experience to drive forward our strategy to grow each of our Group businesses.”

Volkswagen issued its own statement shortly after McLaren thanking Capito for his work over the past four years.

“We would like to thank Jost Capito for his exceptionally dedicated and successful work for Volkswagen in motorsport,” board member Frank Welsch said.

“The three World Rally Championship titles with the Polo R WRC represent the greatest sporting achievements in the history of the Volkswagen brand and underscore the technical competence of our company.

“With his transparent and far-sighted leadership, Jost Capito has been instrumental in this success.”