Reply To: Different roles of management in motorsport?

  • 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!