Jonathan Neale, the acting CEO of McLaren Racing, has been appointed COO of the entire McLaren Technology Group, and Jost Capito, Volkswagen’s Director of Motorsport, has been appointed CEO of McLaren Racing, supported by Racing Director Eric Boullier, who will work closely with both Jonathan and Jost. The timing of these change is yet to be settled as Capito must work out a settlement with his current employer.
Capito is no stranger to Formula 1. The 57-year-old German began as a competitor in endurance motorcycle racing and motocross when he was in his teens. He won a variety of different titles in the two disciplines and went on to take part in the incredible Paris-Dakar Rally. In 1985 he was the winner of the truck category on the Dakar.
At the same time he was studying engineering at the famous technical university in Munich. When he graduated he was picked by BMW to join its elite motorsport team in Munich, under Paul Rosche. He spent the next four years working as a development engineer during the successful BMW M3 touring car campaigns. In 1990 he was offered a job with the Porsche AG’s motorsport department and he would later move up to head the department. Not long afterwards Capito was offered the job of running Sauber Petronas Engineering, which was designing a Formula 1 engine for the Malaysian oil company at the time. That project was eventually shelved but Capito then became head of operations at Sauber in 1999. He moved to join Ford as it head of motorsport strategy and its global performance vehicle business. He stayed with Ford until 2012 when he switched to head Volkswagen Motorsport and his since headed the team dominating the WRC.
“Jonathan has done an excellent job as acting CEO of McLaren Racing – and that experience, together with the expertise he has attained in non-motorsport industry positions previously, makes him ideally suited to such an important new role at McLaren Technology Group,” says McLaren boss Ron Dennis. “I first approached Jost last summer. 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 sports cars, touring cars, motorcycle racing and Formula 1, about which he is hugely knowledgeable and infectiously passionate. 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.