Martin Whitmarsh kicked off his new career as McLaren team principal by revealing it is not his first chance to lead a formula one team.

The 50-year-old, who for 20 years has been Ron Dennis' right-hand man at the Woking based outfit, officially stepped up to the top job on Sunday, with group CEO and chairman Dennis to focus on a broader role within the company.

But even though his move from British Aerospace to McLaren dates back to 1989, Whitmarsh told Sunday newspaper reporters at the team's futuristic headquarters that he has occasionally been asked to jump ship.

"I've had offers to be team principal at rival teams but this is the greatest motor racing team in the world and I wouldn't feel comfortable anywhere else," he said.

It is said that Whitmarsh and Dennis, a self-diagnosed obsessive perfectionist, are so similar in their approaches to formula one that very little will change at McLaren in 2009 and beyond.

But Whitmarsh insists: "Ron and I have common views but I am not an identikit of him.

"On the fundamental issues of how to go motor racing we are very similar in how we approach things," he admitted.


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