The McLaren Formula One team, officially McLaren Honda, has announced Jost Capito as its new CEO. He replaces caretaker CEO Jonathan Neale who will fill the new role of COO. Eric Boullier remains racing director.
McLaren hasn’t had a standard team principal position since early 2014 when Ron Dennis, who heads the McLaren Technologies Group parent company, reorganized the team following a poor 2013 season. With 2015 arguably the team’s worst season in its entire history, it’s understandable that Dennis would be quick to shake things up again.
Capito comes to McLaren from Volkswagen where he headed the automaker’s motorsport division, namely its hugely successful World Rally Championship team which won the past three seasons. Prior to working at VW he worked at Ford Motor Company’s [NYSE:F] former SVT performance division where he was responsible for previous-generation versions of cars like the Ford Focus RS and F-150 Raptor.
“I first approached Jost last summer,” Ron Dennis said in a statement. “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.”
Last season, McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were regularly at the back of the pack and the new Honda power unit that many hoped would see a repeat of the performance of the Prost and Senna days turned out to be a dud. In the end, the team could only better cash-strapped Marussia (which used a previous season’s car) with a lowly 27 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
Both Alonso and Button will continue to drive for McLaren in 2016.