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Insight: Why signing Jost Capito as new F1 boss is the right move for McLaren

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Insight: Why signing Jost Capito as new F1 boss is the right move for McLaren
Jan 14, 2016, 4:17 PM

McLaren has been looking for a new chief executive of its F1 team for two years and in announcing today that it has captured the signature of Jost ...

McLaren has been looking for a new chief executive of its F1 team for two years and in announcing today that it has captured the signature of Jost Capito, the boss of Volkswagen Motorsport, it has pulled off something of a coup.

Capito is 57 years old and has been around the block in motorsport; his current stint at Volkswagen since 2011 proving hugely successful in World Rallying, where the team is serial world champion. He worked in F1 as head of Ford in the days when it powered Jordan GP and also had a stint at Sauber in the late 1990s.

In his early career he worked with the legendary BMW engineer Paul Rosche, then moved to Porsche where he headed the motorsport department, before switching to Sauber.

Jost Capito

Capito's face fits in the current McLaren set up because he knows how manufacturers operate and his reputation and career highlights will carry weight with Honda. Communication between Honda and McLaren has been challenging, largely as they worked to align their expectations.

His presence will also add a layer of protection for Eric Boullier the race team boss, to get on with his job and focus on the team and its engineers to make the progress that is desperately needed. He will still have extensive dealings with Honda, but Capito will provide an extra buffer, a man who speaks their language, so to speak.

Capito also has an excellent relationship with the FIA in the back corridors of the sport.

Capito does not start immediately. A statement from Volkswagen said, "Jost Capito is to leave the company by mutual agreement during the course of this year... Capito will continue to perform the duties of Motorsport Director until such time as his successor at Volkswagen Motorsport GmbH has been appointed."

Jonathan Neale will move from the acting CEO role at McLaren Racing to work under Ron Dennis in the McLaren Technology Group. Dennis' position will remain unchanged.

"I first approached Jost last summer," said Dennis. "He is an extremely impressive, competitive and ambitious individual, who comes to us with a very wide range of automotive and motorsport experience, encompassing senior positions at BMW, Porsche, Ford, Sauber and, since 2012, Volkswagen, leading the latter company’s World Rally Championship team to consecutive world titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015."
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