McLaren Investment in young talent ..

 and technology puts McLaren in pole position

Research commissioned by Motorsport Development UK (MDUK) and conducted by Experian – Motorsport 100 – has revealed that industry leaders believe McLaren and its British driver Lewis Hamilton will win the Formula 1 constructors’ and drivers’ titles in 2008. When considering aspects of the teams’ performance, industry leaders think that McLaren and arch-rivals Ferrari are equally innovative. However, a significant number believe that McLaren put more back into the industry than any other team, largely through its driver development programme for young drivers and its long-term investment programme, considered one of the main reasons for its success and competitive edge.

Energy efficiency and the environment are an increasingly important factor and one that could play a decisive role with the introduction of kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) in 2009. The research revealed that 24% thought Honda, with their high profile ‘EarthDreams’ campaign, is perceived to be the most environmentally friendly team. However, this appears to be unconnected with innovation where McLaren and Ferrari were judged to be the most innovative teams but Honda were ranked 6th.

Evers Pearce, Motorsport Development Manager at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College commented: “Being environmentally friendly and being innovative should go hand in hand and regulations are changing to reflect this. But until there is more change, being innovative will not always be perceived as being environmentally friendly.”

Expectations of British success in Formula 1 are mirrored by positive sentiment on the performance of the industry as a whole, despite the UK’s gloomy business forecast. According to the Motorsport 100 Index, which combines a number of key metrics, confidence in the UK motorsport industry has slipped only slightly over the last quarter (from an index score of 94.7 to 94.1). However, at +14%,[1] business optimism remains significantly above that for businesses in the UK as a whole (-23%).[2]

Motorsport 100 investigates the reasons for this confidence and aims to raise performance still further. The research has found that 57% of companies have a formal written business plan. Over the past 12 months these companies have outperformed those without a plan in relation to turnover, profitability and investment and they have also experienced lower operating costs.