Different roles of management in motorsport?

  • Different roles of management in motorsport?

    Posted by Ismail Saleq on March 23, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    Obviously management roles are a massive role in motorsport, but what are the different management roles within a team or other type of firm related to motorsport? If anyone could bring some more information to this that would be greatly appreciated.

    • This discussion was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by  Ismail Saleq.
    JP Latham (Student Motorsport) replied 2 years, 2 months ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Patrick Hathaway (Student Motorsport)

    March 25, 2022 at 8:41 am

    Hi Ismail, thanks for your question. I don’t think there’s a straight answer, but my take on this is:

    There’s no set way to run a racing team or motorsport business, but there are tried and tested ways and therefore similarities.

    The management of a team and/or business is going to be determined by a few factors:

    • How many people need to be managed
    • The output (e.g. how many cars are being run, how many departments with different skill sets)
    • How many areas of business need looking after (departments)
    • How the team or company is set up in the first place
    • How successful the business of the team or company is (how much does it have to spend)
    • Goals and work culture
    • What leadership is needed and when

    That last two are probably the key drivers – setting out what needs to be achieved, and how to make it successful. I think McLaren Formula 1 Team is an interesting case when you look at the top of their management. My understanding is that Zak Brown was brought in to lead a few years ago primarily to transform McLaren commercially, which he achieved and lifted the team and brand. If you look now, Andreas Seidl has taken on the more sporting, team principal role of leading the team. I perceive that because of what’s needed now, Zak to focus on maintaining and creating further strengthened relations with partners, Andreas Seidl to oversee the team ops and make sure they win. And that’s because of who they are and where they got to in achieving company goals.

    When you’ve established your goals, that’s when you look at what you have and what you need to get. It’s like any other business in that regard. You need to assess: how much can you afford, what are your weaknesses, what can you capitalise on. What are the qualities needed for that role?

    If you’re talking specifically about car ops, then it’s a similar thought pattern in many ways, but I think it’s fair to say that hands-on experience really counts and you build through the ranks if you’re going to be chief designer, chief aerodynamicist, No1 Mechanic etc.

    I’ll see if we can dig out any information or resources on this!

  • JP Latham (Student Motorsport)

    April 11, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Good Morning Ismail,

    Welcome to Student Motorsport, it’s great to see you’ve started such an interesting discussion here.

    Adding to @smo_patrick response, I would like to add some examples of the types of management roles you see in motorsport and also Formula 1 which may influence some thoughts on this discussion or indeed, and I am assuming here, your aims are for a career in the sport.

    Starting from ‘the top down’ per se:

    1. Company Owners or Executives – These roles (which of course takes much time to work up to) are focused on the management of activities across the business and focus on key decisions and ‘commercial direction’.

    2. Finance – Managing financial funds, budgets, legalities, payroll, sponsorship, spending and tax areas of the business – cash flow and finance are integral to business success.

    3. Human Resources – Motorsport is driven by people, and those people need guidance and support or the business will simply not function well.

    4. General Area Managers – There are of course (racing team/organisation size dependant) a whole host of managers within a motorsport racing team or business.

    Examples here include: IT, Marketing, Sponsorship, Hospitality, Administration, Purchasing, Material and Stores, Paint/Bodyshop, Assembly, Design/Development, Analysis, Race Team, Logistics…the list goes on!

    Example Accountabilities: Staff coordination, target setting/assessment, planning, staff reviews, local budgeting, area development.

    Hope this helps.