Mark Gallagher’s new F1 book

A1GP 2008/09, Rd 5, Gauteng


Spent a very enjoyable time in the company of some lovely people the other night at Mark Gallagher’s book launch event at the Marriott County Hall (the former London GLC building to you and me) in Waterloo.

Mark’s an old friend and colleague who has just released The Business of Winning – strategic success from the Formula One track to the boardroom (Kogan Page – ISBN: 978-0-7494-7272-6) and I recommend you buy it – now. If you’re in the US, click here.

Apart from it being a rattling good read, full of stories from his time in the F1 industry, many people draw parallels between the worlds of business and F1 and Mark has set out a series of his ‘insights’ into branding and image, team building, change management, innovation and global communications strategy.

Former F1 driver David Coulthard has written the foreword but interestingly, later in the tome – chapter 12 – he talks about winning culture, team building, etc from the sharp end. The driver’s angle doesn’t get talked about much so this is a good addition.

About time

As Mark reminded me on the night, he’d talked to me about writing a book at lunch in Covent Garden over 10 years ago (nice Italian if I recall correctly) but he’s been somewhat busy so one can forgive him.

“It’s been a very interesting 32 years working in motor racing. Lots of different experiences. I keep thinking of better stories I forgot to tell. To work with someone like Michael Schumacher even just for a weekend gives you an opportunity to see what excellence really looks like.

“And then to work with someone like Eddie Jordan (Jordan GP founder and team principal). Every time I mention him people laugh. Worked for him as marketing and communications director – as his interpreter. I tried to make sense of what he was saying,” says Mark jovially.

“But I chose Eddie intentionally. He has this slightly mad persona. But the reality is for 15 years he ran a highly profitable, race-winning F1 team. To work with a guy like this who is totally driven and a leader who understands what it takes to be number one is a very inspirational experience. Those 10 years I worked with Eddie taught me so much.

“It was also then quite incredible to meet Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz and work with him. He said he’d been inspired by EJ: ‘If EJ can create a race winning team as an independent guy with private funding then maybe I can also do the same.’ Of course he went on to win four world championships.”

Mark goes on to say

“Over 32 years I’ve met a lot of interesting people and I share these insights in the book. It has been fun not just to talk about leadership but also teamwork. There’s an innovation culture in F1, it’s not just a sport. We live in a country where there are 6,000 full time jobs in F1, 14,000 people working in the supply chain. This is a real industry in the UK of which we should be very proud.

Williams' Patrick Head (l)  and Mark Gallagher

Williams’ Patrick Head (l) and Mark Gallagher

“It’s an R&D-centric industry which is heavily involved in managing risk. We produce these amazing high performance machines and risk management and safety becomes a very important part of what we do, combining the ultimate in performance with the ultimate in safety.

“In my book one of the most difficult chapters to write is the one on safety because when you’ve worked in this sport which kills people and then see that come to an end in 1994, the last time an F1 driver was killed in a race, I can tell you that the world of industry is utterly fascinated in how F1 stopped killing drivers.

“The statistic is we had 43 drivers killed before then, so there’s a big lesson. If F1 knows how to stop people being killed in a 200 mph accident what can this teach other industries about risk management?

“Of course in recent weeks this has become very topical. We have a driver who has been very seriously injured in an incident at the Japanese GP so risk is again centre stage to what we do.

“We’ve also had two F1 teams go into administration which puts commercial risk management at the centre of what we do,” and so the parallels continue.

Next steps

“I find the whole environment utterly fascinating in terms of what business can learn from F1. It’s a really vibrant area to have worked in.

“And it’s been good to have the book published when my own racing team Status GP – having just bought Tony Fernandes’ GP2 team – is now at the level of racing immediately below F1.

“I had a letter last week from Bernie Ecclestone saying: ‘Dear Mark, You know what the final step is…’ I haven’t replied to it yet,” Mark says with a smile.

“But we’re on the cusp with a very exciting 2015 ahead. Having the book out as my team takes another step forward – it’s a very exciting time.”

It certainly is Mark. And long may it continue. Good luck matey, you damned well deserve it!

A sad day for F1

Poor Jules Bianchi. The odds against this immensely liked driver going off at the same spot in Suzuka as Adrian Sutil must have been phenomenal. The weather had just turned for the worst. The signs are at least encouraging post operation but having seen the footage of his ‘off’ Jules is truly lucky to be alive.

And now news that former F1 driver Andrea de Cesaris has been killed in a bike crash in Rome, aged only 55. Tragic.

In 1982, aged 22, de Cesaris became the then youngest driver to start a Grand Prix from the front of the grid after he took his sole career pole, the same year a young Clive Couldwell first started reporting on F1 – in the business and technology sense, that is.

Newey and Ainslie to pair up?

It’s not such a bad supposition.

It would certainly be a dream combination – our finest sailor looking to redress the balance of history with a British contender for the Americas Cup, and our finest F1 designer who has stated already he would be tempted with a foray into boat design.

One suspects it’s going to be all about timing. Adrian Newey is committed to next year’s car with Red Bull Racing, with 2014 posing design challenges for all the teams with the regulation changes.

Fresh from his success with Oracle Team USA, Sir Ben Ainslie is on the crest of a wave (so to speak) and is keen to capitalise on his worth as he attracts backing for a new British contender.

But Newey, talented though he undoubtedly is in Formula One motor racing, is untested in the world of yacht design and he (and Ainslie) would be taking a huge risk with such a project.

So – yes – lovely idea. But I don’t think it’s going to happen – sadly.

Sahara Force India at Spa

Felt sorry for Paul Di Resta. Really thought he was going to qualify in poll for a moment there.
Fellow Scot David Coulthard sharing a moment with Paul Di Resta

Fellow Scot David Coulthard sharing a moment with a desperately unlucky Paul Di Resta

From then on it was mixed fortunes for Sahara Force India as Adrian Sutil raced to ninth place in the Grand Prix, while Paul Di Resta failed to finish after being hit by Pastor Maldonado on lap 27.
Adrian: “An interesting and exciting race, and it’s good to come away with two points. At the start I didn’t make the best getaway and lost a few places, but after that I settled into the race and was able to get ahead of a few cars and move into the top ten.
“I always enjoy driving here at Spa and I had some exciting overtaking moves today, which felt very nice. The two-stop strategy was the best way to go and it worked out well because I think we achieved the maximum that was available to us.
“We are still in a close fight with McLaren so it was important to get back in the points today after a couple of tough races.”
Paul: “I got a lot of wheel-spin at the start of the race and was down in about tenth place going into turn one, but during the first lap I managed to recover to seventh.
Adrian Sutil on the drivers' parade.

Adrian Sutil on the drivers’ parade.

“After the second pit stop I was racing closely with Adrian and there was a train of four cars battling as we went into the final chicane. Pastor (Maldonado) went in deep and missed the apex so I tried to get the cut-back and was going around the outside of him. He then decided to try and enter the pit lane, which was impossible given his track position.
“As a result he hit me, which took the rear corner off my car. It’s a real shame because the speed was quite strong today and I think there was definitely a point or two up for grabs.”
There certainly was…
Last word with the boss.
Vijay: “I’m pleased to see us back in the points after a fine performance by Adrian. He clearly enjoyed himself out there today and his overtaking moves were a highlight of the race. The strategy calls from the pit wall helped him stay in the hunt for points and his race pace was good.
Paul have a thoughtful session in the cockpit.

Paul having a thoughtful session in the cockpit.

“The incident with Maldonado hitting Paul was very disappointing because Paul was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It certainly cost us the chance to get both cars in the points.
“Going forward we will take the positives from the weekend and look to build on this performance level in a couple of weeks’ time in Monza.”

Fancy a job in F1?

The Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy will see two winning candidates complete a 12-month assignment with triple World Championship-winning F1 team Infiniti Red Bull Racing, based in Milton Keynes, UK.

The two graduates will work alongside Infiniti engineers already based at the F1 team’s factory. They will also spend time at Infiniti’s nearby technical centre in Cranfield where they will improve upon their knowledge of future road car technologies.

The new programme is the latest development in the Infiniti Red Bull Racing partnership. Recruitment will open later this year. National selections across several global regions will begin in May 2014, putting applicants through a comprehensive selection process to assess their performance potential and innovative thinking.

Finalists will present their ideas to a panel of senior technical figures from Infiniti and Infiniti Red Bull Racing in July 2014 with the two winners announced at the British Grand Prix. The placements will begin in September 2014. This once-in-a-lifetime scholarship includes a salary, accommodation, and the use of a car.

Says Adrian Newey, Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer:

“One of the key advantages of our partnership with Infiniti is our ability to utilise their resources, from materials to processes and people. As such it is really interesting for us to benefit from a worldwide selection process which brings the best new talent through our door.

“The speed of technical development in Formula One means that fresh thinking is crucial in keeping ahead of the other teams and we hope that providing an opportunity for world class graduates to work with us will provide long term performance benefits for us and for Infiniti.”

Patrick Head answers lots of silly questions

As co-founder and Technical Director of Williams F1 Patrick Head was responsible for nine World Championship-winning cars.

Patrick Head fashion shot

Patrick Head fashion shot

In the process he has worked with some of the world’s most talented drivers including Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve and Keke Rosberg to name but a few. Patrick is also an intrepid traveller using all forms of transport from motorbike to sailing yacht.

Here Dom Reilly talks to Patrick about his adventures in F1.

Q What’s the one luxury you always travel with?

My Macbook Air.

Q When you used to travel to places like Melbourne and Shanghai, how did you deal with jet lag? After all it’s a long way to go for a weekend!

I tried to ignore the time change and adjust immediately to the local time.  Sometimes it worked, but not always.

Q Outside F1 venues, which is your favourite destination and why? 

I normally keep my sailing boat in Calgiari, Sardinia, where my wife’s family live.  My sailboat is my greatest relaxation.  It’s usually very warm, which helps.

Q What is your preferred mode of transport?

Motorbike, but only if it’s warm.  Helicopters I enjoy but they are a bit on the pricey side.

Q What would your top tip be for international travel?

Plan in advance and find out what is available locally before you travel.

Q What would you have been if not an F1 engineer?


Q Although there are now 20 races a year, things are comparatively easy in F1 these days. I remember you telling me once about how (in 1986) you did every race, every test session and travelled to Japan several times in one year to manage relations with Honda. That must have been very tough. What sticks in your mind particularly about that year?

Patrick as we usually see him. Eye to eye...

Patrick as we usually see him. Eye to eye…


Q Who’s been the most interesting person you’ve met during your career?

Placido Domingo, a big F1 fan.

Q If you could go to one place on holiday… where would it be?

Tanganyika, I would like to see wild Africa, or as close as is still there….

Honestly Patrick. What were you thinking, associating yourself with such PR drivel.


Five places back. Well, I got that wrong yesterday. Disqualified and stuck on the back of the grid? Bit harsh. The stewards have some explaining to do.

Still, Maldonado held his second position well after losing pole to Alonso. Not a lot he could have done about that. And Hamilton is battling through the field, despite his pit crew almost putting a spanner in the works, or was it a wheel gun..

Sky Sports F1 site – forget it

Unless you love ads of course.

Was looking forward to accessing some of Sky Sport F1’s much publicised video reports on its swanky new web site today. The BBC’s site has been looking tired for some time.

Imagine my disappointment, especially after all the pre-launch hype, when I click in there only to hit ad after ad before I can get to the meat. Each time you click on what you assume will be a report, you have to endure a minute or so of tedious advertising. And it’s the same ad.

I’m sure Brundle and the team have lots of interesting comments to make but I’m back to the BBC. To be honest, I never really left, but I was hoping Sky would add a little more dynamism to the package. I assume it’s there, but I can’t be bothered ploughing through the ads to find it.

At least with the BBC Sport’s F1 site I can click straight on to the highlights and they’re there. TV coverage is good too. Ironically, today’s tightly edited post qualy Melbourne report was first class.

In the case of the BBC – less, really is more. Sky – you may have quality, but it takes some finding. Please do something about it.

Sponsor a future F1 star

Ronan McKenzie’s the name. Our budding F1 star needs money – and now.

Ronan at Ellough Park Practice Day

His father and step-mother – Jason McKenzie and Karen Box – are trying to secure the budget which will enable Ronan to take up an offer from kart manufacturing giant Birel of a place on its Junior Motorsport team in Karting Formula 3 (KF3) for the 2012 season.

Races take place in Italy, Spain, France and the UK. They’re televised on Italian tv and the Internet.

At this level Formula 1 teams begin to take an interest in young drivers. Ronan’s ultimate goal is to reach F1, and this is the next step.

Ronan is the Associate Driver of Cranfield University’s prestigious Motorsport Programme and is already very well publicised in the media and online.

He will work hard as your brand ambassador, exposing your company to a wide audience and working to promote your brand and/or products.

You will see from his achievements and photos he is a very marketable young man, and he is also very personable and understands fully the obligations to marketing partners.

Jason and Karen have a very limited deadline of 16 December 2011 to accept the offer from Birel. They’re looking to open communications with potential partners at the earliest opportunity.

Please visit Ronan’s LinkedIn profile to access pdf files under “Marketing Partnership Opportunity” – these are details of Ronan’s recent career, a selection of photos and the 2012 season budget to enable Ronan to compete.

If you are interested in partnering with Ronan, or you have contacts who may be interested, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Hot off the press – Lotus judgement


Hingham, UK 24 January 2011

Team Lotus is delighted that we were successful at the Summary Judgment Application hearing today and that the Judge threw out Group Lotus’ application even before hearing the arguments of the barristers on either side.

Although this decision was never in doubt, it means that we start the 2011 season under the Team Lotus name. Whilst we expected that the Judge would refuse this application, it is good to have the decision in black and white.

The Judge also felt that it was in everyone’s best interests to bring the hearing date for the full trial forward and that is now fixed for 21 March rather than us having to wait until Autumn 2011 or even later. We remain confident that we will succeed at the full trial and we can now focus on the challenges ahead in the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Williams F1 to be floated?

Williams chief exec Adam Parr

For some years Sir Frank Williams has been considering how to secure the long-term ownership of his racing organisation such that it will remain true to the aims with which Patrick and he established the team back in 1977. Says Williams:

“My goal then was to race in Formula One as an independent Constructor. This was and is my great passion and I will race for as long as I continue to be blessed with good health. It is also my desire that the team is in good shape to go on racing long after I am gone. To that end, it is prudent and necessary to plan for an ownership structure that will enable Williams to be an independent Constructor, owned and staffed by people committed to Formula One and to the sound business practices which have supported us over three decades.

“I have concluded that the option which will best achieve this is to broaden our shareholder base with public shareholders, while having a stable core of long-term investors closely involved in the running of the team. This will ensure stability, good governance and will, I believe, enable us to attract and retain the best people and partners.

“Patrick, Toto and I are therefore examining this option closely and, if the environment is propitious, we may act in the near future. Regardless of whatever steps we take, I shall remain the majority and controlling shareholder and the Team Principal of AT&T Williams.”


Q: It sounds like Williams is considering a flotation on the stock exchange. Would that be correct?

ASP: Yes, it would be correct to say that Williams F1 is considering a flotation on the stock exchange. At this stage, all we have concluded is that it is the best way to secure the future of the team and its 450 employees.

Q: What is the timetable?

ASP: As the plan develops we will provide further information.

Q: Is retirement a current consideration for Frank?

ASP: No. Retirement is categorically not on Frank’s agenda. Anyone who knows Frank knows this.

Q: Are there any concerns surrounding Frank’s health?

ASP: No. Frank’s health is absolutely fine.

Q: What other options has the Board investigated?

ASP: We have had many approaches in the past, but none have offered the same benefits as this route.

Q: Toto Wolff invested in the team in November 2009. What is his future role?

ASP: Toto is a non-executive director and a significant shareholder in the company. He has already established himself as an important part of the team and he will play a central role in its future.

Q: If Williams were to go public, what are the implications for the team’s partners and relations with the FIA and FOM?

ASP: The team has always enjoyed honest and open relationships with its partners, the governing body of the sport and the commercial rights-holder. Whether we are a public or private company, this will not change.

Q: Would any flotation involve raising funds for the company?

ASP: No.

Q: Does Williams F1 have the financial track record to support a flotation?

ASP: Yes, we believe we do. The company has always been run on sound financial principles. In spite of the economic environment in recent years, we have turned a profit and generated positive cash-flow from operating activities in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and we have a fully contracted budget for 2011.

FIA approves Korean GP circuit

The saga continues…

For the third day running, yet more images of the Korea International Circuit. This time, it’s a lot of very worried looking officials walking down the tarmac rather sheepishly, and shaking hands. The body language speaks volumes:

FIA Formula One Race Director and Safety Delegate Charlie Whiting has carried out a site inspection and approved all the facilities.  Not surprisingly, the green light was welcomed by promoter, the Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO).

Said KAVO and Korea Automobile Racing Association (KARA) Chairman, and FIA Formula One Commission member, Yung Cho Chung, who hosted Whiting for the inspection of the 5.615km track and infrastructure facilities:

“We are delighted that all works are now finished to the complete satisfaction of the FIA, and we join the whole of Korea in welcoming the Formula 1 fraternity to the Korea International Circuit for the first time.”

The event has the full backing of South Korea’s Central Government, as well as the Government of South Jeolla Province, where the circuit is located, and its Governor Park Jun-yeong.

The Korea International Circuit is designed as a dual structure: the 5.615km Formula 1 track, which will include elements of a street circuit and has a 1.2km straight, and a shorter, permanent circuit of 3.045km.

The track was designed by Hermann Tilke, and incorporates local elements such as the roof of the main grandstand which resembles the eaves of traditional Korean ‘hanok’ houses. A total of 130,000 spectators will be accommodated at the circuit, with 16,000 seats in the main grandstand.

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