The thoughts Of Martin Whitmarsh and others

Martin Whitmarsh has been very quiet since he left McLaren two years ago. he has been working as the CEO of Ben Ainslie Racing, Britain’s challenger for the next America’s Cup. this week, however, he returned to the motorsport world, as a speaker at the FIA Sport Conference in Turin. This is designed to be a forum for motorsport figures to share ideas and discuss ways in which motorsport can develop and improve. the timing if the event was not brilliant because the major global series are now flat out, with F1 in the middle of a run of six races in eight weekends and the WEC having just finished Le Mans. Nonetheless, there are around 300 delegates st the event, which is being held at the former Fiat factory at Lingotto in Turin, famous for the test track built on its roof and a celebrated early example of a purpose-built factory with raw materials arriving at ground level and new cars arriving and being tested at the top. Today it is a shopping centre and conference venue.

Whitmarsh worked in F1 for 25 years and said that the change has been interesting, allowung him the chance to step back and look at the sport with a little more distance. He said that he was amazed by how the sailing world was to keen to learn from F1, and believes that F1 should be more open to ideas from outside.

“It’s such a vibrant environment but I think sometimes we could learn from other sectors and have a bit more humility and think about the integrity of racing. Sometimes, maybe, the clamour for money or other things in motor racing, means we lose that a little bit.”

Whitmarsh also believes that the world can learn a lot from F1, if the sport is more open.

“Speed is very important in life and in all sorts of different industrial environments. You don’t get speed without efficiency and I think that it is often overlooked just how efficient F1 cars are – how efficient they are at producing power, how efficient they are in creating grip. It is that drive for efficiency that is so relevant to all sorts of walks of life. Motor racing has evolved and developed analytical and simulation techniques that are iterating things quicker, making things better and I think that is certainly something that we are now learning in the America’s Cup. I think that can make a difference.”

The message is not really new, and it is doubtful that Whitmarsh’s words will make much difference with the powers that be in the sport. It is, however,an interesting reflection from a man who was at the very centre of the sport for so many years.

For more about the Sports Conference, watch the following videos:

26 thoughts on “The thoughts Of Martin Whitmarsh and others

  1. Seems to me Joe that Martin Whitmarsh could write a really fascinating book about his time in F1. I wonder who he could cooperate with on the project if he didn’t have time to do it himself….

  2. I also think F1 could learn a bit from this video that Porsche has just released.

    How often do you see car ad where the rival company is praised.

    Sportsmanship at is finest.

    1. Good video, thanks for submitting James, and to Joe for allowing the link to remain. Great sportsmanship as you say.

      I watched most of the LM, and including the finish. As the camera panned across the Porsche and Toyota pits it was fascinating to watch the reactions of the teams involved. It reminded me a lot of Interlagos 2008, at least in terms of the way fortunes shifted so quickly in the dying stages of a great sporting event. I love Porsche winning outright at LeMans, 18 is an incredible record, but I really felt for Toyota, and in particular Anthony Davidson and his co-pilots. So close, maybe next year.

      Nice to hear from Martin.

      Thanks for the Baku notebook Joe. I only saw the first 10 laps, liked the look of the circuit, particularly the castle wall. Did anyone see if the President got the Putin treatment at the end of the race?

    2. Porsche always make vids the bring a tear to my eye. As you say great to see kudos given to a competitor. Makes me proud to drive one.

      But…..sad to say, my interest in motor sport as sunk to such a low level I didn’t even know LM was on and so didn’t watch any of it.

      I knew Baku was on but chose not to watch that.

  3. Not really Rocket Science but greed rules all. Basically a bunch of people who you wouldn’t want to live next door to or have dinner with have stolen our sport

  4. Martin Whitmarsh always came across as the quiet voice of sanity and honesty in what appears from the outside, often to be a crazy and duplicitous sport/business.

  5. Can you ever see Martin returning to the F1 paddock Joe? I’d imagine his skills would be sought after, and seemed a decent bloke to work with.

  6. Some of the other videos from the conference are also interesting.
    I rather like Martin as McLaren number 2 man.
    Lingotto also had a period as an exhibition centre, which was the venue for the Automotor show every year. For me it will always be firmly remembered as a scene in The Italian Job, as also is the Palavela building a little further down near the river.

    1. That hapoens if he breaks the gagging clause about what went on at mclaren so sadky he isn’t going to be spilling the beans fir a while.

  7. I do miss not having Martin in F1, he always struck me as one of the good guys. It would be good to see him back.

  8. F1 could learn a lot from America’s Cup – and specifically in one area and what NOT to do.

    AC, for the most part, is not broadcast on mainstream TV channels. The previous edition was, however, broadcast live on YouTube to significant viewership-figures success. Since then, the AC has moved to a paid subscription service for fans to view the sport on their connected devices. Viewership numbers have dropped dramatically. Monetization in this way doesn’t (yet) work, and especially when the sport is so fringe.

    I’m a sailor and a fan of sailing, and I’ve followed the storied history of the America’s Cup for as long as I’ve been following F1. But I haven’t paid a subscription to view America’s Cup. Nor would I pay one to view F1.

  9. As a long time America’s Cup fan I find the comments of Martin Whitmarsh odd. In the last America’s Cup series the American team found itself down 8-1 to the New Zealand team, but the American Team was well funded and each day they got faster and faster. The American team went on to win the winners prize in remarkable fashion, winning each race after the 8-1 score. There were even two days where the New Zealand team was ahead and about to win yet, the wind was too light and the race time had ended or the wind was too high and the race had to end.
    The reason the American team won in the end had to do with… quick iterations of the equipment. Everyone saw that the Kiwi’s could “foil” much more quickly after crossing the starting line so the American team focused on getting the boat out of the water on the foils as quickly as possible. They tuned the wing (main sail) to transfer maximum energy to the lower part of the wing by iterating the connection between the wing and the hull, they just got faster and faster each race, until, it was over, the American team had amazing speed due to iterations over night.
    I like Martin Whitmarsh but I wish he would see just how the modern America’s Cup team does iterate, maybe even faster then F1. Whitmarsh should talk to the skipper of his British boat, he just happened to have been the tactician on the winning Americas Cup boat.

    1. I don’t think he doubts the speed of the America’s Cup teams, he simply knows both F1 and the Cup and wants the Cup to be more reactive than it is. Who is better qualified to make that call? Do you know both industries as Martin does?

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