Martin Whitmarsh

Well he's the man that's incharge at Mclaren but what do we all really know about the man named Martin Whitmarsh?

Well i can tell you that he has a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He started his career at British Aerospace (best known as BAE systems these days) as a structural analyst engineer at Hamble-le-Rice.

But in 1989 he was joined Mclaren as Head of Operations. In 1997 he was then promoted to Managing Directors role in which he was in charge of the F1 operation and it's partners and sponsors. In 2004 Martin was again promoted this time his position was CEO of the companies F1 operations.

It wasn't until the 1st March 2009 when Ron Dennis was stepping down from his position, as Team principal that Whitmarsh was promoted into that position.

Ever since Mclaren have had the following Championship standings since 2009:

2009: 3rd
2010: 2nd
2011: 2nd

All and all Whitmarsh's teams have been constitantly improving and he'll produce a championship winning team.

But why does Whitmarsh divide F1 fans opinions of him? Is it because he's not the loud and bouncing team principal that others are? Or is it the fact that he's not as good as Ron Dennis?
Lets look at the years before he took over.

2008: 2nd
2007: D/Q
2006: 3rd
2005: 2nd
2004: 5th

So pretty much you can say Martin has continued in the same vein the team was before - if anything he's picked it up a bit since the pre-2005 era. he had 6 wins in 2011, 5 wins in 2010 - He develped an awful car to a race winning car in 2009. He organised a mass re-bulid in 2011 so Mclaren would not start with an awful car. His one driver signing was a world champion who has been a success for the team and fitted in (unlike the last one they signed). On top of which he's not managed to make an enemy of the people running the sport.

His and Ron's styles to be honest aren't much different mainly because Whitmarsh was groomed by Ron to do exactly what he is doing. Anyone who thinks Martin does anything without Ron's seal of approval is kidding themselves. Unfourtunatly for Martin he's a convinent scapegoat now that Ron has gone for why they have not won a championship since his departure but in actual fact Mclaren's rate of winning championships has neither risen or fallen since his arrival. Ron managed 7 constructors titles in his 28 years as team principle and 10 drivers titles. The last time Mclaren won the constructors was in 1998 and whilst, yes, but for the D/Q(which I'm not discussing) in 2007 they would have come top then that would still only be 2 in 14 years - yet people are saying Whitmarsh is a failure because he hasn't got one in 3 years? Crazy.

Yes Mclaren have had their fair shares of errors this year but is that really something new? the dream of what an efficent machine the mclaren team was is purely that - a dream. Scapegoat Martin if you like but he's just and extension of Ron when it comes down to it.
While agreeing completely with Rasp, I'd also add that Ron's legacy wasn't quite as good as it could have been - he failed to provide Adrian Newey with the working environment and challenge to enthuse him, and losing Newey to Red Bull made life harder for McLaren (and everyone else, of course).

On the bigger picture, of McLaren's overall competitiveness, I don't see much change - usually winners and championship challengers, with the occasional duff car. At the micro level you could argue that there are more blunders creeping in, though McLaren was never as good as Ferrari or Renault/Benetton operationally, or at thinking on their feet. Only Whitmarsh's colleagues could really assess whether these things are down to him, or whether he is doing the right things to correct them. The shareholders certainly haven't seen fit to make a change (yet).

The Dennis-era McLaren of 1984-91 was a winning machine that Ron himself could never recreate; it's harsh to expect his successor to do so.
But why does Whitmarsh divide F1 fans opinions of him? Is it because he's not the loud and bouncing team principal that others are? Or is it the fact that he's not as good as Ron Dennis?
Its neither, its because he cant hide his preference for one of the drivers contracted to mcLaren.

Its interesting you say he worked forBritish Areospace. I have a friend who worked there after doing post grad work with the likes of Pat Symmonds, Adrian Reynard.He's also woked with Ron supplying (not sure what but something to do with rolling roads I think:unsure:) Anyway, time to contact an old friend I think:D
Yes I agree that Martin seems to favour Button but then again it was perfectly obvious to any casual observer that Ron favoured Hamilton, so if people find it necessary to vilify Martin for this then they have to do the same thing to Ron.

Also the question of favourites in a team is normal it goes back as far as the beginning of the sport, Chapman was famous for it, it is nothing new..

Do people actually think that Vettel isn't favoured at RedBull or Alonso at Ferrari? Having a favourite is hardly a smear on a man's character, indeed it is a normal part of being human, I'll bet there isn't a person alive who doesn't prefer one person over another.

And apart from Martin talking a bit more about Jenson than Lewis in interviews there is no evidence that Jenson gets preferential treatment.
But why does Whitmarsh divide F1 fans opinions of him? Is it because he's not the loud and bouncing team principal that others are? Or is it the fact that he's not as good as Ron Dennis?
Its neither, its because he cant hide his preference for one of the drivers contracted to mcLaren.

Even if this true, and I see no evidence that it is, doesn't that back my point up about him being an extension of Ron? Ron always had a prefered driver whether it be Prost over Lauda, Senna over Prost, Senna over Berger, Mika and Kimi over DC. Anyone over Juan Pablo or, yes, even Lewis over Fernando(although I except Fernando didn't exactly help himself) and Heiki. Ron always had a favourite son. I'm not suggesting he worked any harder for one of his drivers than the other but he never hid it.

The famous story on this front is him walking into a team meeting and turning to Mika and his strategist and asking "What are we doing?" and then once he was told pointing at DC and saying "and what are they doing?"

Ron was far guiltier of showing preference than Whitmarsh has ever been.
When Martin is asked a question he mostly starts the answer with either "Yes no" or "No yes" just a quirk I've picked up on...

A hard race for Lewis Martin? No yes it was but there were blah blah blah...

A good win for Jenson Martin? Yes no he drove well and deserved it blah blah blah...
I'd like to point out that Whitmarsh has never been guilty of anything other than praising Button when he's done well and not praising Hamilton when he's done badly.
Cant agree with that. Thats not what ive seen over the last 2 yrs.
@Rasputini Im not saying it hasnt gone on before and goes on now in other teams, Im just offering it as an explanation for why a lot of people dont like Whitmarsh
Thats because his back was against the wall and Lewis had had pretty well all his races of the season so far comprimised one way or another. The last one in spectacular fashion. A little grovelling was called for
Actually racecub I would say that it is why a lot of Lewis fans don't like Whitmarsh, because they see favouritism in Martin's demeanour towards Button they assume quite wrongly that it must somehow go on in the team.

It so obviously complete nonsense..
Can I please respectfully ask that unfounded conspiracy theories not be brought into this thread, it is annoying in the extreme (To me anyway.) and bares no purpose, except to be cause arguments.

Mind you if there is proof that wrong doings are going on then that is a different matter, and worth discussing..
Can I just say that I dont believe there is a conspiracy, that would indeed be stupidity in the extreme. BUT does the way Mclaren are organised and Martin's clear preference for one driver, subconsciously influence some decisions that are made. I think it might.
Regarding Ron. Ive always argued against preferential treatment for one driver happenning at Mclaren (still would do, I think they receive the same equipment)
Lewis/Alonso I think things were equal(if not slightly stacked for Alonso initially as they expected him to be ahead) and Alonso expected preferential treatment, he didnt get it, it led to meltdown after which yes Ron wanted Lewis to win.
Lewis /Heikki . Lewis was usually ahead on speed.
Coulthard/ Hakinen. Id say Hakinen was the more talented and ahead on that. And yes Ron did have a special feeling for him probably because he nearly died.
Ron may have had favourites, it would be understandable that he was close to lewis after working with him for so many years, but Ron is a business man. Lewis wouldnt have stayed in that team unless on merit.
To get back to the question I dislike Whitmarsh but I have no problem with Ron. I didnt hear Ron in post race interviews constantly talking up one driver at the expense of the other and thats what particularly rankles aboutWhitmarsh.
Lewis /Heikki . Lewis was usually ahead on speed.

Hm...not sure Heikki, Whitmarsh or the McLaren team will agree, they clearly stated (Whitmarsh himself) they favoured Hamilton in both seasons from the get go.

That's for another thread though as this is about Whitmarsh.
Maybe not publicly saying he preferred one driver over another racecub (Neither has Martin for that matter.) but I distinctly remember Ron putting his arm around Hamilton's shoulders on several occasions when he'd had a bad day at the office to comfort him and I can't remember him doing that to any of his other drivers.

It has also been said that some of Hamilton's woe's last year were due to him not having the support that he was used to when Ron was in charge.

So maybe that is the reason some of Lewis's fans don't like Martin.

Is Hamilton so fragile that he cannot perform without the one on one support of the team principal?

I hope that is not the case...
Well he's clearly managing without arms this year.
Ron did look after Lewis, when he was a rookie, but thats understandable. Just as I actually applauded Whitmarsh for doing so when Jenson first entered the team (fool that I was) I thought it was a nice gesture of Whitmarsh to welcome Jenson, make him feel comfortable and talk him up in interviews. But it went on and on and on and Lewis became an afterthought. Whitmarsh may not have actually come out and said he prefers Jenson, he doesnt need to, its all in the gushing. Ron didnt do that in interviews.
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