Analysis: What VW's Jost Capito can bring to McLaren F1 team

McLaren surprised on Thursday by announcing Volkswagen Motorsport boss Jost Capito would become the Formula 1 team's new chief executive officer. DAVID EVANS analyses what Capito can contribute

Analysis: What VW's Jost Capito can bring to McLaren F1 team

Time was, a move from anywhere in motorsport to the sharp end of McLaren's Formula 1 effort would be a significant step up.

But going from one of the world's biggest car manufacturers, the one that has just won 34 of the last 39 world rallies and all six world championships, is now maybe less so.

There are a couple of schools of thought where Capito's VW achievements are concerned. He's had the best car, the biggest budget and the best drivers, so you might well ask how he let those other five rallies slip.

As those in the industry are well aware, the component parts are all well and good, but without the right person to pull them together, you end up with... well, try Chelsea Football Club right now.

And that's where some of Capito's real strength lies - in the stuff that goes on behind the scenes.

That includes the delicate boardroom negotiations required in recent months to keep a beleaguered parent company in the World Rally Championship or the arm around a disillusioned lead driver to get him back on track and bound for another title.

That was what Capito did for Sebastien Ogier in 2014.

Capito's the ultimate team player. For the last three years, he hasn't missed an early morning service - many of them involving an alarm call starting with the number four - to offer his three drivers the best for the day ahead.

Such routines can and often are waved away as platitudes, but there's genuine feeling from Capito. Volkswagen Motorsport was his team, his family.

Now, I'm not exactly well versed in the ways and workings of McLaren, but from what I understand, Capito's going to struggle to foster the same sort of relaxed, open and, at times, apparently laissez-faire attitude that he managed out of Hannover.

The good thing for Jost is that he knows motorsport and F1. His time with Sauber in the late 1990s will have given him a solid insight into the paddock at an executive level while the recent months within the Volkswagen Group will have offered a solid briefing on crisis management.

But there can be little doubt, what Capito faces now is the biggest challenge of his career.

And his legacy at Volkswagen? Forget the titles or the rally wins, there'll be a fairly large pair of shoes to be filled at the back door when he lands in Surrey.

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