July 21, 2016
On 5 July 2016 I took part in a panel discussion at an Inspired Leaders Network event held at the London School of Economics. I shared the stage with my co-author on ‘Performance at the Limit’, Ken Pasternak, and Williams F1 Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds. Hosted by the ILN’s own business guru René Carayol, the focus of the discussion was the learnings that organisations and leaders can take from looking at the world of Formula 1. As ever, Pat was succinct and insightful in his comments and Ken and I were able to reprise some of the key messages from the third edition of the book. You can find a review of the event and some video clips here:
July 19, 2016
I’m delighted that the third edition of our book ‘Performance at the Limit: Business Lessons from Formula 1® Motor Racing’ is now available:
It’s been a lot of hard work as this is a lot more than a simple update of previous editions. We’ve created a new structure, some new frameworks such as the ‘Performance Pyramid’ and have been able to add in a lot more content. As usual this has only been possible with the support of Formula One Management and the teams themselves. Mercedes AMG F1 were particularly helpful in providing support and interviews for the book and feature strongly in this latest edition. It was also a great honour that Mercedes AMG F1’ Non-executive chairman agreed to write the foreword. Having started a couple of international airlines from scratch and won three F1 world championships he was the perfect person to connect the world of Formula 1 to the world of business and organisations.
May 31, 2016
Although Daniel Ricciardo failed to win the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix he did secure pole position with a time of 1 minute 13.622 seconds. This equated to an average speed of 102.3933 mph. This is the first time that the 1.6 litre V6 hybrid power units introduced for the 2014 season have beaten normally aspirated engines at Monaco. In 2013 the pole lap time was 1 minute 13.876 seconds, an average speed of 102.0413 mph, however this was achieved with a 2.4 litre V8 engine.
Monaco is one of the few tracks that has changed little since the inception of the F1 Drivers’ Championship in 1950. This has enabled us to review the relative performance of Formula 1 from 1950, as shown in the attached chart.
This figure illustrates the constant improvement in performance that F1 teams have to achieve, it also provides an insight into how they respond to regulation changes. We see the effect of these changes when the curve dips and the cars are slowed down, but usually within a couple of years the cars will be going just as fast as they were before. This is exactly the phenomena we can see from 2013 to 2016, the change in power unit regulations in 2014 causes a dip in performance (and an impressive drop in fuel consumption by 35%) and yet by 2016 the cars are going just as fast as they were in 2013. In F1, regulation doesn’t stifle innovation it stimulates it.
December 16, 2015
You may be interested in a book some of my colleagues have had published by Oxford University Press. It is called ‘Embracing Complexity’ and you can find more details on the OUP website:
The reason I raise it here is that complexity theory brings some interesting ideas to help us deal with and adapt to change. One of these ideas is the concept of the ‘Tipping Point’. The term actually originates from the work of epidemiologists – those who study epidemics – and was taken by journalist Malcolm Gladwell in his book of the same name (more details can be found at:
essentially it is when something reaches critical mass – it could be a disease like AIDS or it could be a social phenomenon such as Facebook or Twitter. Here change is created by a number of small events which suddenly ‘tip’ the phenomena from something relatively insignificant to something of global significance.
Formula 1 remains the biggest global phenomenon in motorsport, but many within and outside of it are suggesting that the business model is out of date and that ultimately it is not sustainable economically, technologically and, most importantly, in terms of generating interest and demand from consumers. Formula E has a very different model to F1 and is currently very much a minnow in comparison to the great whale. But the announcement yesterday that global luxury car brand Jaguar are planning to enter Formula E in 2016/17 in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering may just be one of those relatively small events that we look back on as a tipping point. Time will tell.
August 28, 2014
Interesting comments from Ron Dennis on the F1 drivers’ market
Ron Dennis says he’s satisfied with the performance of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen in 2014, but confirms that McLaren is keeping its options open on future driver choice as it enters the Honda era.
The names of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have all been connected with the team, although in theory none are free until 2016 or even later.
Dennis was reminded that a few weeks ago he said that Jenson had to “try harder,” a remark that created something of a stir at the time.
“Anyone who has actually seen the TV interview in question will know that there was an element of humour in what I said,” he told the official F1 website. “Having said that, did I also intend to give Jenson a bit of a wake-up call? Yes, I did. But I did it softly, not maliciously. Indeed, perhaps the efficacy of…
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July 29, 2014
Great piece from @willbuxton
The arrival of August may mean an enforced break for most of the F1 world, but not it would seem for some of the sport’s key decision makers. It emerged over the weekend of the Hungarian Grand Prix that Bernie Ecclestone intends to hold a crisis summit over the sport’s popularity. Formula 1 team bosses were made aware of this on Saturday in Budapest, along with the shock news that alongside a hand-picked selection of team chiefs and Ecclestone himself, would be media representatives and disgraced former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore.
Although it has been claimed that the meeting should not be viewed as a negative, to many it can only be deemed thus. Coming at a time when the fans of this sport, along with a growing number of dissenting voices in the paddock, are having their say on double points…
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May 19, 2014
The nice people at Virgin have published another guest piece from me on the subject of what makes an industry ripe for disruption? You can see it here: http://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/what-makes-an-industry-ripe-for-disruption
As you will see from the piece I consider that F1 is most certainly ripe for disruption and that Formula E may be the disruptor that changes the rules of the game. However it is also worth making the point that many disruptors do not actually destroy the existing businesses, but create growth through the addition of new customers into the industry. Low cost airlines have not replaced the entire airline business model, but extended the airline business into new markets. You could also see a scenario where Formula E actually attracts a new group of fan into motorsport – someone who is passionate about low carbon technology and who likes the edgy new technology and city racing that Formula E will be showcasing. Who knows we may ultimately see teams like McLaren and Williams entering cars into Formula E when it becomes open to other constructors in 2016. Stranger things have happened in motor racing.