British PM at McLaren

British Prime Minister David Cameron was among the guests this morning at McLaren. The PM was given a tour of the new McLaren Production Centre (MPC) with executive chairman Ron Dennis and F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

“Thank you for inviting me. It is incredibly inspiring,” the Prime Minister said. “I’ve been to a few car factories in my time but I have never been to anything like this. Formula 1 is an incredible British success story. It is not just McLaren. When Michael Schumacher races it is in a car built in Britain. Perhaps that is a point I will make to Chancellor Merkel tomorrow to break the ice!”

Cameron had previously been to the Science Museum to launch the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, which will be awarded every two years for a “groundbreaking advance in engineering which has led to significant international public benefit”. The prize will be worth $1.5 million.

The Royal Academy of Engineering will decide on the winner, with a charitable trust being run by former BP chief executive Lord John Browne and funded by British firms including defence giant BAE Systems, Shell and GlaxoSmithKline.

At McLaren the Prime Minister announced a new scheme which will see businesses bidding for cash to fund apprenticeships, giving companies the power to design, develop and buy the vocational training programme that most suits their needs. The initial fund will be $75 million in 2012, rising to $300 million in the second year, if there are sufficient high-quality schemes.

He praised McLaren for its efforts to help rebuilding fading British manufacturing.

Dennis took the opportunity to reveal that McLaren has already pre-sold 2,000 McLaren MP4-12C road cars.

McLaren used the event to spread the word about its different areas of expertise with a small group of media, mainly from the business world, plus partners and other interested parties.

Jonathan Neale, the MD of McLaren Racing, revealed that the 2012 F1 car will have just a six percent carry over of parts from this year’s MP4-26.

Peter Van Manen revealed that McLaren Electronics has just won the contract to supply common ECUs for the new engine formula in F1 from 2014. McLaren also supplies the new ECUs which will be introduced in NASCAR next year. McLaren also supplies ECUs in IndyCar racing. Van Manen also revealed that McLaren has recently developed software for the aviation business in the United States. The company is also putting software into the train systems in San Francisco and hopes to expand the real-time tracking capability on to the global market.

Geoff McGrath, the MD of McLaren Applied Technologies, said that McLaren is expanding from sports such as sailing, cycling and bob-sleighs, into new areas and has become “a beacon of innovation”. McGrath also talked about McLaren’s involvement in streamlining airport operations using software to manage air traffic in the ground and thus improving efficiency in the industry and reduce emissions.

McGrath also talked about the potential of monitoring health from afar. This is known as “remote condition monitoring” which keeps an eye on the patient from a distance and provides instant feedback with “human telemetry”.

18 thoughts on “British PM at McLaren

  1. Joe
    Bit of a non F1 question/reply here, but I know you like a good debate 🙂

    could you ask him about the logic of feathering Mr Bransons pockets again?
    Have you read the northern rock sale information? The UK public purse ploughed in some 1.5bn plus to shore up the bank, took over all of the toxic assets which are now separate, and then Mr Branson rocks up with 750m for the lot.
    One wonders how the civil service and government of this country see that somehow as a good deal.
    Thanks, Andy

  2. No doubt part of the government drive (pun intended) to get more young people interested in engineering – which must be a good thing whatever your views of Camshaft

  3. Kind of surprised they are trying the radical way again, by designing a completely new car. First off, that approach didn’t work this year, and second: wouldn’t it be smarter to develop the current car further? It is almost as fast as the red bull, and they will have to design a completely new car for 2013 because of the rule changes. So they could try and save some resources, which they could than throw at a radically new design for 2013.

  4. Vitaly.

    Given that most of this years car was based around getting downforce from the blown diffuser it doesn’t surprise me they are starting from the ground up, I imagine the RB8 chassis will be revolution rather than the evolution of the last few years.

    I hear people saying that the rules are pretty stable for next year but with periscope exhausts, no off throttle blowing and a change in rules re the nosecone area of the car I imagine the cars will look drastically different. Not to mention all the new toys people have discovered on other cars they want to incorporate I.E. flexi-wings, Mercedes front wing F-Duct etc.

  5. Vitaly,

    Just because only 6% of the parts are carried over does not mean the new car is a clean-sheet design… could be that 94% of the existing parts have been further improved 🙂

  6. Vitaly – was going to say something along the same lines – and doesn’t this just point up what has become the ridiculous cost of Formula One.

    On a variation of the topic Joe you know how much more expensive Formula One is than the next motor racing championship down so to speak – such as Formula 2,NASCAR or the World Rally championship? It seems like its multiples more expensive (bad Grammer or wot)

  7. sorry that should read do you know Joe. I also meant to say what a good idea the remote condition monitoring for us humans would be

  8. Once again, the government talks up F1 as an example of the pioneering engineering base in the UK, despite ignoring it for many years and denying it (as a sport) from the ‘protected viewing’ register, something which would have prevented the Sky clusterf*ck (or at least, forced the BBC to deal with C4/C5/ITV first).

    How do they hope to drive people into one of the UKs most influential & respected industries when they can’t watch the show properly because our already squeezed wallets cannot afford to?

  9. I can’t help but point out that McLaren’s impact on manufacturing in Britain is surely quite limited. If they were selling a couple hundred thousand cars that would be one thing. But, with production in the low thousands, selling cars to very exclusive clientele, the impact can’t be that big.

  10. > Jonathan Neale, the MD of McLaren Racing, revealed that the 2012 F1
    > car will have just a six percent carry over of parts from this year’s MP4-26.

    To me, this is one of the more amazing things I’ve read anywhere about anything.

    p.s. Seems odd to have British prizes reported in $… I know we’re cousins and all that, but still…

  11. Andy C

    When nationalised, Northern Rock had an asset value of £100bn, that’s the company for which Virgin offered £1.4bn

    Since then Rock has been split into two parts, the ‘good’ part with a current asset value of £20bn which is what Virgin have bought for £0.75bn (rising to £1bn depending on performance) and the ‘bad’ part which also has a current asset value of around £20bn and is currently reporting profits.

    So what the treasury have done is sell one fifth of the 2008 company for half the 2008 offer, I don’t know about you but most will consider that good business!

  12. @John M

    Indeed more and more people should start looking at things Joe’s way. Which is the only right way. Unfortunately people simply don’t let go their archaic notions, which is a shame now that we have an enlightening evangelist moonlighting as all access F1 journalist, who has totally objective views on F1, its sponsorship deals, its governance, and is the final authority in driver talents, whats wrong and whats right.

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