On the face of it, Formula 1 and business might not appear to have many similarities. However, if you scratch beneath the surface, these two worlds have a range of things in common. One man who’s well aware of the crossovers is Formula 1 expert Mark Gallagher. During a talk at a meeting of owners of independent marketing companies subcontracted by Appco Group, the specialist – who has worked in senior management roles at the likes of Red Bull Racing, Cosworth and Jordan Grand Prix – gave insights into what businesses can learn from this high-octane sport.
Addressing the audience at the event hosted by Appco UK, he highlighted the fact that motorsport and business have a number of shared priorities. According to Mark, the main objectives of a Formula 1 team include integrating new technology that helps to enhance performance and maintaining the highest standards of quality. Often, it takes years of dedication and work to meet these goals, he pointed out. Many companies will recognise these priorities as central to their approach too.
Keeping the customer happy
He went on to note that, like business, Formula 1 is a very customer-centric discipline. He pointed out that racing companies need to make sure that their fans and sponsors are happy with their performance. This isn’t easy given that there can only ever be one victor in a given race, meaning they are many more losers. Mark suggested that the way racing organisations keep their supporters on side is to be open and available to them and to show an unwavering sense of team spirit. He went on to state that everyone, from the engineers to the drivers, have to be on board with this ethos and do their bit to contribute towards it.
A collaborative approach
Concluding his talk at the Appco-hosted event, Mark drew on a Michael Schumacher anecdote. He said that Schumacher wasn’t regarded so highly as a driver simply because of his skills on the track; it was also his approach after hours that earned him such an impressive reputation. He revealed that during the weekends and after races, Schumacher would often visit developers and engineers to talk to them about what they were doing. Mark said that this collaborative spirit makes individuals like Schumacher and the teams they work with so successful.
So, from making sure they have the right systems in place to maintaining quality, putting the customer first and showcasing team spirit, there are in fact many things that businesses can learn from Formula 1.