Dennis: F1-style innovation the key to industrial growth

lrg-import-mtc-mclaren-electronics21By Daniel Lawrence

McLaren Group Chairman Ron Dennis opened the “Fast Forward 20 ways F1 is changing our world” exhibition at the London Science Museum today and put technical collaboration at the heart of his message.

The Formula One teams recently unveiled a long-term vision and accompanying plans to make grand prix racing more sustainable in the context of global economic difficulty [see separate story HERE].

Dennis, who has continued to work closely with his opposite numbers to develop the plans despite stepping down as McLaren team principal earlier this year, made it clear today that continued technical collaboration between the teams is essential not only to ensure Formula One’s survival but also to help industries outside of the sport adapt to new demands through innovation and change.

“We at McLaren are working hard with the rest of the Formula One teams to improve and sustain our sport,” heard him say. “It is my fervent hope that the rate that we as a sport innovate and change can provide inspiration to other industries and act as an engine of growth for our nation.”

Dennis also set out to rebrand Formula One as a sport of scientific innovation and industrial growth rather than one of excess, celebrities and media frenzies.

“Contrary to popular belief Formula One is not about glitz, glamor and parties, intrinsically at it’s heart it’s about technological and scientific innovation,” he said.

The McLaren chief gave some fascinating insights into the efforts that go into making McLaren such a technologically competitive team: “We at McLaren make a change to our cars every 20 minutes throughout the entire Formula One season and we do that every season.”

As he carried on with his speech and pointed out some of the industries that have adopted technology based on Formula One designs – including scientists in the army, doctors leading intensive care units and even space experts – Dennis emphasised that to survive in Formula One teams need to continually build and design new technologies.

“Since I started in this sport 43 years ago an incredible 79 Formula One teams have come and gone carrying with them the hopes, dreams and fortunes of some incredibly bright, incredibly hard working individuals which despite their best efforts were simply not competitive enough to survival,” Dennis observed.

The speech was an effective image change for a sport that, beneath the hype and glitz, is one of hard work and constant innovation. It is a message that may need to be repeated as Formula One and the teams within it seek to innovate once more to face the problems of the world economic crisis.

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