AUF WIEDERSEHEN JOST Time to say goodbye
As the VW chief departs for Mclaren, Capito bares all to MN. By David Evans
Capito’s replacement was confirmed as current team-manager Sven Smeets on Monday, and the outgoing team boss says the foundations have been laid to maintain the firm’s domination into world rallying’s next generation.
“There are four months to the end of the season,” said Capito. “If there is a good time to leave then it’s now. This will give my successor the chance to start with the new car at the start of a new time in the championship. Everything is there for the team to continue like we did. The basis is right and there should not be a dip in performance. I saw the 2017 car with the new doors and everything for the first time just before it went into the windtunnel. When I looked at it, it was fantastic. It looks incredible. It’s just what we want from the regulation.”
Capito reiterated that the job with Mclaren was the only one which would have taken him away from Hannover.
“I was a fan of Bruce Mclaren when I was six years old,” said Capito. “I don’t know why. He raced everything, he was a really nice guy and he was from somewhere a very long way away.
“That’s one of the reasons I take this job: I’ve always loved Mclaren. That and the challenge to get Mclaren back to the top. Can I succeed? I don’t know we will see.”
Capito has helped shape the WRC and his determination to market Volkswagen’s success in rallying has helped revive the series’ fortunes.
“There are, I think, two important things which happened since Volkswagen was here [in WRC],” said Capito. “The first is that we have a stable promoter. Whether they understand the sport or not, they are stable; there are no more discussions about whether they will be going bankrupt tomorrow. This brings trust from the TV broadcasters and it brings more stable investment for the future – which has helped bring Hyundai and Toyota, two of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, to the championship.
“The second thing is the success Volkswagen had in marketing. When we started out in 2013, we had 30,000 Facebook fans. Now we have well over five million, which is in the region of Formula 1 and football teams. We have shown what potential the WRC has.”