Attention to detail

Marc Priestley, former F1 mechanic and F1 broadcaster told IBIS Global Summit 2017 delegates that attention to detail is critical for success.

During his presentation Teamwork in Formula One Marc looked at how F1 teams become successful, how they maintain that success and how they manage to turn around less positive experiences.

Marc, who was at McLaren when Lewis Hamilton arrived on the scene, first explained the structure of F1 teams and how they are built around the driver. Drilling down into the detail, he then highlighted the role each pitstop crew member plays stating it ‘is crucial in attaining the overall goal – you have to perform under immense pressure. Lewis Hamilton cannot be world champion without his team.’

He spoke of the 800 people working at McLaren HQ on the F1 programme – ‘providing the driver with the opportunity to win. Everyone is the team has a role to play.’

Providing anecdotes of life working at McLaren under the leadership of Ron Dennis who he claimed has OCD tendencies, Marc said that attention to detail is what made them standout.

Mar highlighted how a real turning point for F1 and more specifically McLaren came when the EU placed a blanket ban on Tabaco advertising within F1. He said that while the other teams got drawn into a fightback, McLaren looked at it very differently and explored the opportunity it provided. ‘Ron Dennis spoke with us all and said we were going to go a different route – he saw the opportunity,’ explained Marc.

‘We started to implement change and analyse everything we did in order to provoke new ways of thinking. This was a huge change of culture as now we were being asked how we should move forward.’

He told of how this approach was implemented across the entire business and specifically highlighted how marketing teams came up with the solution of marketing the driver via sponsorship. Marc explained, ‘We started to work on new ideas as ways to market ourselves and built two way partnerships.’ He explained how ultimately this lead to the very successful Vodafone deal which was ‘unprecedented’ at the time.

Specific to his remit, Marc was tasked with making improvements to his teams pit stop times, at a time when they were already the best with stops in the region of four seconds. He described how this whole area went from a process which was trained once a week to a completely holistic approach which included daily practice, technology advancements, sports psychology and personal wellbeing.

The end result was that the team managed to bring its pit stop times down to 2.5 seconds – ‘everyone had a part to play in the process’ said Marc.

The final anecdote came as Marc highlighted how a suspension component failure lead to the discovery that manufacturing facility was completely detached from the race team and even the F1 programme. ‘Not even half of them even looked at race results over the weekend,’ said Marc ‘I was amazed.’

With the discover Marc approached Ron Dennis and said, ‘We didn’t trust in what they were doing and they had no interest in what we were doing.’ In response Ron Dennis and Marc set about fixing the issue and reconnecting the two sides of the business.

‘People were empowered and given the opportunity to make an impact’ said Marc aas he explained how employees were encouraged to share experiences and ideas. ‘We became a much more efficient resource, and started to share our experiences. The end result was that we won the world title with Lewis Hamilton,’ said Marc.

In summary Marc said, ‘What made us so successful was that we paid great attention to the detail in everything that we did and thought differently.’

The IBIS Global Summit 2017 is partnered by 3M, AkzoNobel, Audatex, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Fix Auto World.

The event is taking place at the Meliá Castilla hotel in Madrid, Spain on 12-14 June 2017.