Aston Martin team principal and CEO Otmar Szafnauer has revealed former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh is "still getting his feet under the table" following his recent appointment.
Whitmarsh, who spent 25 years with McLaren from 1989 through to 2014, started at Aston Martin on October 1 as Group CEO of the Performance Technologies division that also incorporates the F1 team.
Whitmarsh, has been tasked with overseeing the development, application and taking to market of the group’s technical capabilities and intellectual property, paid his first visit to an F1 paddock since leaving McLaren at the recent United States Grand Prix.
Assessing Whitmarsh's performance after just over a month in the job, Szafnauer said: “He’s still getting his feet under the table, so to speak, and learning who we are.
"There are 600 of us now and he’s spent a lot of time in the last few weeks just getting to know all of the senior members of the leadership team, having long meetings with them.
“Some of the people he knew from the time that he was in Formula 1 but I think most of us, he didn’t really have a working relationship with so he is starting to get to know who we are and he is there to help us strategically."
Aston Martin has aspirations to be a title-winning team in four to five years, with owner Lawrence Stroll ploughing in resources as a new factory is under construction and there is heavy recruitment to build up the numbers of staff required to challenge.
With Whitmarsh now an integral part of that hoped-for success, Szafnauer added: “There is a lot to do including building a campus, hiring people, putting processes in place that say, perhaps, a small team wouldn’t have really needed but a big team will need.
“He has come from a big team. When he was at McLaren it was one of the biggest teams.
"I, too, when I was at Honda, it was a big team but there are things that as a small team we didn’t have in place and we need to quickly put those things in place as we grow, so there is plenty to do.
"But as I say, even when he came to the first race, he spent one evening here until everybody had gone home, talking to all of the engineers, the mechanics, getting to know them.
“He’s in that mode of learning if you know what I mean.”
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