Mclaren

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Fortitude

292 posts

129 months

Friday 21st December 2018
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turbomoped said:
Its become the most fun you can have to batter Mclaren lately but in reality they are one of the
more useful teams on the grid.
They produce their own sports cars and technology for other customers as well as a race team.
So every year there is something of value going on.
Were they just a race team and didn't win the title you can argue its just pointless endevour.
If all you are interested in or aware of is the 2 hrs on sunday then its easy to scoff.
I genuinely want to see McLaren doing well next year. I also wanted McLaren to do well in the last few season too.

However, when you read articles like this, surely that represents BIG problems with McLaren?

Communication Honda's big F1 change with Toro Rosso after McLaren
By Lewis Duncan, Scott Mitchell
@ScottAutosport
Published on Friday December 21st 2018

Honda Formula 1 boss Masashi Yamamoto says the manufacturer's "biggest change" in 2018 with Toro Rosso compared to its McLaren partnership was "much better communication".

The Japanese company returned to F1 in 2015 as sole engine supplier to McLaren, but a troubled and acrimonious tenure led to the pair parting ways at the end of '17.

Honda joined forces with Toro Rosso for this season and the new partnership ended the campaign eighth in the constructors' table with 33 points, three more than Honda managed with McLaren the previous season.

"The biggest change to Toro Rosso [compared with McLaren] is we had much better communication with the team compared to the past," Yamamoto told Autosport.

"As a result of that we had better connection between the chassis and power unit on the technical side.

"In terms of the engine itself we were able to see the improvement of reliability and performance.

"We had Spec 2 and Spec 3 and improved the performance gradually. It was a good preparation for next year.

"We had some troubles at the beginning of the year, reliability issues, and some delay on development but in the end both reliability and performance improved."

Next year Honda will replace Renault as Red Bull's engine supplier, as well as continuing as Toro Rosso's power unit partner.

Yamamoto believes the engine update brought for the Canadian Grand Prix showed Honda could make significant steps forward and was enough to gain Red Bull's "trust".

When asked if the rapid rebuilding of Honda's reputation in '18 was a surprise, he said: "This is not really a big surprise.

"The key point was the race performance in Canada. We were able to prove we could step forward to a certain level and were able to get trust from Red Bull.

"After that, we were able to continue in that environment. Red Bull was also seeing that.

"I think the relationship is quite stable and good, and we are getting that trust. "I'm excited and looking forward to next year.

"So if we can accomplish or complete our programme for next year on schedule, we can have a good relationship and results with Red Bull."


https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/140771/honda-com...

Kraken

632 posts

137 months

Saturday 22nd December 2018
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Well that's what they've been addressing with all the personnel changes and restructuring. Seems to me that they can't win sometimes. It takes time to make changes of that magnitude.

Another article on Autosport today where they address what some of the problems were. Seems like they had the same basic issue that they've had for the past 10 years with too much emphasis on outright figures (KPI) rather than usability.

Not much point in making a car that has more points of downforce than the competition if it only gives that at rigid ride heights in a straight line for example.

Reading between the lines it does sound like each department was quoting figures like that and pointing to the next one as being the problem.


rdjohn

3,088 posts

132 months

Sunday 23rd December 2018
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From what I have learned recently, it seems that the culture in the garage is focused on apportioning blame for when things go wrong, rather them operating as a highly-motivated team.

tigerkoi

2,328 posts

135 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
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rdjohn said:
From what I have learned recently, it seems that the culture in the garage is focused on apportioning blame for when things go wrong, rather them operating as a highly-motivated team.
I can quite believe it. The Amazon documentary on McLaren was really illuminating.

Company culture is often the biggest factor behind poor performance, and certainly when if you look around and think, the team has resources, the funds are there, they’re a smart-ish bunch, they know the goal...so what’s wrong?

Negative corporate culture doesn’t take long to root, and the same can be said about reversing it, but not all places are the same. But if departments within just feel they need to push blame sideways, then obviously the people within don’t seem too comfortable sharing upwards and working cross-group. That’s a management and leadership problem.

Leaders of companies can reshuffle at will, bring in new faces, announce new schemes to tackle this that and the other, but ultimately they have to walk the walk and influence by their own behaviours, otherwise nothing changes.

The Honda scenario was a microcosm of poor corporate behaviour and a culture within McLaren that doesn’t seem right. You don’t need an MBA from INSEAD or even an interest in F1 to be told the bare facts of the situation, the way everyone acted, the outcome, and not bury your face in both palms. It was a clown act by the team.

They’ll be multiple factors (some historical, some headwinds) as to why things have gone off course. And they’ll be multiple factors involved in getting back on track.

On one note and something I’ve mentioned before is, the building: on first pass it must seem quite impressive set amongst the trees and the lake. But do people enjoy working there? The place looks like everyone walks around on tip toes and follows certain dictated paths, like the lines painted on hospital floors telling you where to go. No deviation. White floors. Glass everywhere so everything is under watch.

“Just what do you think you are doing, Dave?”



Frankly, it would crush my soul to have to drive into that setup everyday.

I suppose a simpler way of putting it might be: who has the most fun in their day job? McLaren employees or Red Bull employees?

keirik

978 posts

80 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
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rdjohn said:
From what I have learned recently, it seems that the culture in the garage is focused on apportioning blame for when things go wrong, rather them operating as a highly-motivated team.
Sadly it was like that when I was there back in the 90s too.

Seems like nothing changes
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Vaud

30,525 posts

92 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
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“Open the garage doors please Ron”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that Fernando”

Kraken

632 posts

137 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
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Unfortunately the blame culture is a trap that so many businesses get themselves into as they get bigger. Seen it so many times I tell my kids to never work for a business with more than 50 employees and move on when it gets bigger than that.

Vaud

30,525 posts

92 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
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Kraken said:
Unfortunately the blame culture is a trap that so many businesses get themselves into as they get bigger. Seen it so many times I tell my kids to never work for a business with more than 50 employees and move on when it gets bigger than that.
Not always. Many bigger business don't fall into that trap and are great places to work.

Kraken

632 posts

137 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
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I didn't say all now did I? I've worked as a business consultant on and off for over 30 years now so I've seem my fair share.

garyhun

25,805 posts

165 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
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Vaud said:
Kraken said:
Unfortunately the blame culture is a trap that so many businesses get themselves into as they get bigger. Seen it so many times I tell my kids to never work for a business with more than 50 employees and move on when it gets bigger than that.
Not always. Many bigger business don't fall into that trap and are great places to work.
I had a long career at Microsoft - didn’t do me any harm and they are mahoosive smile

Vaud

30,525 posts

92 months

Tuesday 25th December 2018
quotequote all
Kraken said:
I didn't say all now did I? I've worked as a business consultant on and off for over 30 years now so I've seem my fair share.
No but it is still a generalisation and pretty poor advice to your kids.

Fortitude

292 posts

129 months

Wednesday 26th December 2018
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THANKFULLY good news from McLaren...

Zak Brown has presented " a five-year plan to start winning races" at McLaren

https://www.gpblog.com/en/news/28476/zak-brown-has...

FourWheelDrift

75,780 posts

221 months

Wednesday 26th December 2018
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Powerpoint?

Kraken

632 posts

137 months

Friday 28th December 2018
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Vaud said:
No but it is still a generalisation and pretty poor advice to your kids.
Hard to see how something that is based on the reality of working with many of the top firms in the country, advising government departments at local and national level plus serving on several boards both in an executive and non-executive capacity could be poor advice. Poor advice would be giving an opinion without that depth of hard won experience.

At the lower end of many large companies it can be hard to tell the difference but at the executive level many are so concerned about preserving their position and/or share options that they make decisions that protect themselves rather than for the long term good of the company.

Someone working at an entry level position or even middle management might not have a clue that is happening but I've seen it over and over again when companies grow and even (rarely) in some startups where they've been overly generous with option packages.

Not having worked with McLaren I couldn't say if that is the case there but given the comments they've made about departments it would seem to be the case to me but that's just an opinion again as only those at the top really know.

Vaud

30,525 posts

92 months

Friday 28th December 2018
quotequote all
Kraken said:
Hard to see how something that is based on the reality of working with many of the top firms in the country, advising government departments at local and national level plus serving on several boards both in an executive and non-executive capacity could be poor advice. Poor advice would be giving an opinion without that depth of hard won experience.
Possible. I have similar experience in business (multinationals, and including non-exec), and advising a child to "never work for a business with more than 50 employees and move on when it gets bigger than that." is massively limiting their earning potential and their world of opportunities.

You are essentially advising them to never be a CEO of a big company. Or a partner at the big four. Or a leading lawyer. Or a leading academic as all universities are more than 50 people. Suppose they set their own business? Should they exit when it gets to 50 FTEs because by definition it will struggle?

Your view is (albeit based on your experiences) is, in my view and experience translating into the wrong advice.

It would be better to show them how to network and do thorough due diligence on a future employer than to advising them to avoid almost every business career opportunity. I would encourage my children that they should seize every opportunity and they can do anything if they apply themselves, but that research is key.

Anyway, we are off track and I have made my point.

tigerkoi

2,328 posts

135 months

Friday 28th December 2018
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Vaud said:
“Open the garage doors please Ron”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that Fernando”
Ho ho ho!
That’s a good one smile

Vaud

30,525 posts

92 months

Friday 28th December 2018
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tigerkoi said:
Ho ho ho!
That’s a good one smile
Happy to have caused some mirth ;-)

tigerkoi

2,328 posts

135 months

Friday 28th December 2018
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I think you both (Kraken & Vaud) make some reasonable points.

You can have utterly lousy small (often tech) startups that are simply vehicles for the owners selfish ambition and looking to exit asap when the employees are none the wiser and believing the dream; you can also get wonderful large corporates that are excellent to be in: staggeringly good benefits, superb lateral and vertical opportunities to grow, proper work/life balance etc.

Just opting for small outfits is potentially limiting as well as a lot of SXs in large outfits just look after #1. As I say, good points all around. There’s good and bad everywhere, and I’ve had the luck and misfortune to see most of it, too smile

Back to McLaren!

I think the problems McLaren seem to have are growing pains. They’re in the middle. They aren’t a startup nor are they a supersized international conglomerate. But within its three or so divisions, the F1 team needs to act nimbly (like a startup) yet is surrounded by an organisation that’s trying to think it’s a big corporate.

Can it work? I think it’s possible. But only with the right management structures and a degree of latitude afforded to the F1 unit. Whether the calibre of management is there right now is another question.

It’s obvious that the F1 team cycle is very different from the rest of any wider org; Mercedes F1 is reasonably removed from Stuttgart operations, beneath the branding, and they are the gold standard. Toto & team have a degree of independence to perform, but at the same time the guys recognise the Daimler brand very clearly.

Through it all, understanding the dynamics behind organisations, small, medium and large, how they tick and operate is a large key to figuring out why McLaren is underperforming on the track. Sometimes you can get a genius like a Newey that can pull a rabbit out the hat, but that’s not sustainable. However getting your act together in the back and middle office is central to ongoing high performance in the front office.

Mercedes have that figured out. Red Bull too. Ferrari expends too much internal energy dampening conflicting interests but a sense of purpose wills the whole operation along. McLaren is just completely off the pace on and off track.

KevinCamaroSS

8,260 posts

217 months

Friday 28th December 2018
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tigerkoi said:
I think you both (Kraken & Vaud) make some reasonable points.

You can have utterly lousy small (often tech) startups that are simply vehicles for the owners selfish ambition and looking to exit asap when the employees are none the wiser and believing the dream; you can also get wonderful large corporates that are excellent to be in: staggeringly good benefits, superb lateral and vertical opportunities to grow, proper work/life balance etc.

Just opting for small outfits is potentially limiting as well as a lot of SXs in large outfits just look after #1. As I say, good points all around. There’s good and bad everywhere, and I’ve had the luck and misfortune to see most of it, too smile
100% agree.

b0rk

846 posts

83 months

Friday 28th December 2018
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tigerkoi said:
I think the problems McLaren seem to have are growing pains. They’re in the middle. They aren’t a startup nor are they a supersized international conglomerate. But within its three or so divisions, the F1 team needs to act nimbly (like a startup) yet is surrounded by an organisation that’s trying to think it’s a big corporate.

Can it work? I think it’s possible. But only with the right management structures and a degree of latitude afforded to the F1 unit.
Through it all, understanding the dynamics behind organisations, small, medium and large, how they tick and operate is a large key to figuring out why.
The problem is that a front running F1 team based on the organisation size and budget required to be successful are very much not startups and need to act like proper grown up business if it/they are to last over an extended duration. Remember back in the 90's and early naughties they had hundreds of employees.

If you look at the successful startups that have grown into big business and for that matter successful big corporate entities there is a common theme that the businesses are usually structured into smaller reporting units, which themselves are structured as collections of units/teams with the authority to make decisions and get stuff done.

IMHO the problem with startups that grow and many large corporates can be the management and reporting structures to make decisions are so convoluted as they're based on what worked when the business was small. This means that by the time a decision has been made it is probably wrong as the "market" / competitors have moved on.

The drawback with "agile" businesses particularly large ones is that senior managlement doesn't and should know or understand the decisions being made at the coal face to speak. Yet when things are not working the temptation is strong by said managers to have all decisions referred up to them, so that they can explain in detail what is going on when questioned. This IMHO becomes a spiral of poor decisions and under performance as when it had previously all worked they where not making the important decisions anyway rather the many tiers of management/staff below them where.