McLaren: The race team interviews

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McLaren Technical Center

These are the types of things I think most fans like to see.  McLaren have been updating their race team interviews in which they pose a series of questions to each member of the team.  It’s a great way to get a little peek inside the Woking-based team and a fun insight to what they think about last year and the year ahead.  Nothing too introspective but a fun and topical interview series to let us check in on our favorite McLaren team members and what they are thinking. Not a huge “breaking news” story but I thought I would assemble them for all of you to enjoy. Good stuff.

I particularly like Matt Bishop’s answer about saving the day during the Brazilian mugging crisis and how they managed to keep McLaren looking good through the incident.  Well, that is his job so well done to The Bish for seeing that PR moment as a critical point in his season and for doing exactly what he said; keeping things safe and cool in the face of a grand prix in which Jenson Button needed to be at ease.  I also like that he wants to sell cars…I knew there was a car salesman in him somewhere.

Way to go McLaren, a glimpse behind the curtain and a little access that the fans love but never get.  Here then is their series and keep checking out their website for more information.  Great team!

[box type=”shadow”]TIM GOSS – CHIEF ENGINEER

What’s top of your to-do list today?

Pirelli tyres

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

Seeing the car cross the line in first place after we’ve just moved heaven on earth to put a major performance upgrade on the car.

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

Two proudest moments. Firstly, the one-two at the Canadian GP; we were quick, we tactically outplayed the other championship contenders, and the drivers did a magnificent job of preserving their tyres while overtaking the opposition on the road. Secondly, standing on the podium after the one-two at the Chinese GP.

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

Going one step better than 2010 and winning the constructor’s championship.

Dave Robson – Race Engineer

What’s top of your to-do list today?

Planning a day at the factory with Jenson. Objectives are to introduce him to KERS, 26A and Pirelli tyres.

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

Getting the most out of the car and driver and achieving a good race result by choosing a better strategy than the opposition

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

Monza. Great qualifying. Great launch. Almost a great result!

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

Taking everything we’ve learned with Jenson in 2010 along with a full winter development programme with him and being even stronger in 2011. Also, overtaking a Red Bull with KERS!

Mark Williams – Head of Vehicle Engineering

What’s top of your to-do list today?

Impact of Pirelli tyres on design of 26A.

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

Oiling the wheels, making progress, finding laptime, trying to win more races.

What was your proudest achievement of 2010

I don’t keep a score, just think ‘team’ and move on to the next challenge!

What are most looking forward to in 2011?

Bringing both Formula 1 world championships back to Woking.

Matt Bishop – Group Head of Communications and PR

What’s top of your to-do list today?

Planning my presentation to Vodafone on McLaren’s 2011 media/comms/PR strategy.

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

Seeing the fruits of CPR’s strategic/tactical efforts appear on TV, on-line or in print, and watching the reputational benefits to McLaren accrue.

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

Reacting swiftly to devise and execute an effective media/comms/PR programme via which we were able to guide Jenson Button through the aftermath of the armed assault upon him in Sao Paulo, leading to a calm and unruffled Jenson on race day and a positive depiction in the media of (a) the way McLaren had prepared for a grand prix in one of the rougher quarters of Sao Paulo and (b) had managed the crisis.

What are most looking forward to in 2011?

Two things: McLaren winning the drivers’ and constructors’ world championships and McLaren delivering MP4-12Cs to delighted customers who hail them as the most dynamically impressive roadgoing supercars ever built.

Neil Oatley – Design and Development Director

What’s top of your to-do list today?

Planning out some of the car developments from launch to first race.

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

New developments hitting the circuit and improving performance

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

Three one-twos!

What are most looking forward to in 2011?

Winning the first race!

Jakob Andreasen – Race Engineer

What’s top of your to-do list today?

Preparation for work next week with Lewis, Jenson and Gary. Setting out the specification for the 26A.

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

Being able to get stuck in to all aspects of the car and dealing with everyone in McLaren Racing.

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

Winning two races with JB, but also, more subtly and equally as satisfying has been helping JB to become part of the team.

What are most looking forward to in 2011?

Year two with JB will be special.

James Miskin – Strategy Team

What’s top of your to-do list today?

“Planning what we’re aiming to achieve over the winter to improve the strategy software and analysis tools for 2011.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

“Winning races – or at least when the decisions we make lead on to race wins!”

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

“Winning races.”

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

“Winning races.”

Phill Asbury – Launch Team

What’s top of your to-do list today?

“A systems meeting this afternoon, wrapping up issues from the final two races of 2010 at Brazil and Abu Dhabi.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

“When all the systems and services that we provide work without a hitch and the team can function optimally as a result (see below).”

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

“Our good form and results around the middle of the season at places like Turkey and Canada. You can’t achieve that without reliable systems and services (see above).”

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

“We’ve rationalised some of our resources and created a new car systems team, which I will be leading.”

Tom Stallard – Performance engineer

What’s top of your to-do list today?

“I am investigating alternative methods of differential and KERS control ahead of Jenson’s simulator test.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

“Working closely with the drivers to develop the car.”

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

“Going racing with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes for the first time. Being at the track, with everyone in the uniform, gave me a real sense of determination and purpose as well as being part of a close and effective team.”

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

“Hopefully being able to continue my role from 2010, but with better understanding and preparation. To be able to help Jenson and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes be even more competitive next year.”

Mark Grain – Race team support manager

What’s top of your to-do list today?

“Organising preparations for a rig test.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

“Formulating efficient strategies and plans and seeing them come to fruition. Winning races.”

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

“Back-to-back one-two finishes in Turkey and Canada. And the fastest in-race front wing change!”

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

“Starting a challenging new role – not only new to me, but the organisation – as race team support manager. Kicking every other team’s ass…”

“Winning double world championships!”

Ashley Warne – Simulator Team

What’s top of your to-do list today?

“Preparing the simulator for when Lewis and Jenson get their first experience of next year’s car, the MP4-26A.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

“Testing and developing concepts in the simulator that are ultimately delivered to track, bringing performance to the car.”

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

“Being performance engineer for the reigning world champion at the British Grand Prix.”

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

“Winning double world championships!”

Jonathan Neale – Managing Director

What’s top of your to-do list today?

“Preparing for the performance review for the 2011 launch version of MP4-26.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

“Building a great team that is hungry to win.”

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

“Watching Lewis and Jenson together on the podium in Abu Dhabi – good mates and really enjoying the moment.”

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

“The first race in India.”

John Allert – Group Head of Brand

What’s top of your to-do list today?

“I’m working on the 2011 strategy for the deployment of our heritage car collection.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

“Helping to evolve the McLaren brand to bring it closer to our fans.”

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

“My proudest achievement has been the success of our website re-launch – earning the team the Gold Award at the One Show Awards in New York.”

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

“I’m looking forward to developing more creative driver content for our partners and our fans.”

Andy Latham – Race Engineer

What’s top of your to-do list today?

“Preparing for Lewis’ seat fit in the 26A.

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your role?

“Unlike a lot of jobs, we get the opportunity every race to get direct feedback on how we as a team are performing. Winning a race is never easy so when it happens, looking back at the weekend as a whole and remembering the huge effort that went into achieving it,  by so many people, is very rewarding.”

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

“Winning my first race as a race engineer in Turkey was great but the win in Canada was the highlight after a very exciting race.”

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

“Building on the successes of 2010 and hopefully winning the Drivers and Constructors titles.”

Philip Prew – Principal Race Engineer

What’s top of your to-do list today?

“Assess car setup options for the MP4-26A based on results from the Abu Dhabi test. Feeding this into the design process.”

What is the most satisfying aspect of your role?

“Winning – it really is that simple! Working with the entire team to produce, operate and race a winning car.”

What was your proudest achievement of 2010?

“Winning races and leading the championship with both drivers during the season, scoring points at all events and taking the championship fight to the very last race.”

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

A renewed challenge, new technology and more opportunity to win!”[/box]

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