Martin Whitmarsh is one of a new generation of technical managers who have risen through the sport in recent years. After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1980, Whitmarsh joined British Aerospace and went to work as a structural analysis engineer at the BAe facility in Hamble-le-Rice, near Southampton. He was promoted to a coordination role in research and development of advanced composite structures and spent some time at the BAe facility in Weybridge before returning to Hamble-le-Rice where he was put in charge of the production of Harrier and Hawk airframes. It was then decided that the factory should become an independent operation and Aerostructures Hamble Ltd. was established, as a BAe subsidiary. Whitmarsh was made manufacturing director. Soon afterwards, however, he left BAe and joined McLaren International as operations director and he held that position until September 1997 when he was appointed managing-director, a move which allowed team boss Ron Dennis to spend more time developing the TAG McLaren Group.