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Mark Gallagher on the Future of Formula 1

Nick Gold 8 May 2019

I recently sat down with renowned motor sporting expert and broadcaster, Mark Gallagher , as part of my 'In Conversation With' series. You can see the whole video here !

Mark skilfully relates lessons from the race track to companies; from the harnessing of technology, to performance management. He motivates audiences with insights for getting around those tricky turns in business.

Conversing with Mark was incredibly interesting. He has a real grasp of Formula 1 from all angles: sporting, business, brand - the whole package. We had an insightful conversation about managing change and transformation in the sport. This meant considering how the sport might adapt to social, political, and economic changes. How would a fuel-based sport respond to a global climate crisis? And how would a business fundamentally reliant on sponsorship keep afloat when the income stream started to change? Mark had a fascinating way up unpacking the behind the scenes of the sport, the nitty-gritty behind the glamour of Monaco and the whirring of tyres.

The early days of sponsorship in Formula 1 were all about branding and hospitality. Teams relied heavily on tobacco companies, and offered money-can't-buy experiences. See the clip below to find out how F1 responded when their sponsorship model was failing. The recent changes to sponsorship in the F1 world are actully indicative of the gradual evolution of sponsorship more broadly. People want authenticy, brands with a purpose, and the superficial feedback that someone 'enjoyed their day' isn't enough anymore.

Despite Mark's foundations firmly in the traditional F1 model, he was excited to talk about the potential avenues for change and adaptation within the sport. I had to ask him about Tesla, and his response below might surprise you for a petrol head! Society hasn't quite made the mental shift towards electric cars yet, but Mark was eager to praise Elon Musk's approach. The environment is an issue close to his heart, and it seems like a figurehead in the form of Elon Musk has given Mark - and the industry - a renewed excitement for the future. These new opportunities, that are appealing both environmentally and financially, have energised even the most traditional F1 icons.

I could have asked Mark a million more questions (just when will we see the green F1 revolution?!) but what I did learn from him is the responsibilities for all industries to adapt to changing demands - especially when it comes down to the environment. It was impossible to avoid talking about carbon emissions with a speaker from that very world, but through facing the issue head on, I found that there were more solutions than questions, which was incredibly uplifting to learn about.

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