Simon Pavitt is the Marketing Director of Manor Racing, the Formula 1 team with a start-up mentality and an upstart ambition. Manor Racing are here to prove that a challenger team can dare and thrive at the pinnacle of motorsport. Simon has over 15-year experience of creating innovative sponsorship programmes for companies including 10 of the world’s top global brands. Like Manor, Simon is always looking for opportunities to challenge and disrupt the norm or push industry boundaries. Here’s his take on the contrarian Formula 1 fantasy set.
It has to be James Hunt. Swashbuckling, smoking, drinking, rebelling. It’s what every Formula 1 follower wants a driver to be like. He fully lived the GP weekend (and all weekdays to be fair). What a fun rollercoaster ride marketing James’ unconventional character would have been. I’d add John Hogan, as team support to try to keep James in check – probably using Marlboros as incentives. Others that were shortlisted: Eddie Irvine and Clay Regazzoni; as Enzo Ferrari once said, Clay was a “dancer, viveur, playboy and a driver in his spare time”.
Colin Chapman. He could also go under team owner but let’s put him here for his radical designs and enterprising approach. Founder of the original “garagista” team that took on the might of Maranello. He is in as a tribute to undoing the hegemony of Ferrari and Maserati with their front-engine designs. Not sure I would have wanted to be one of his test drivers though when he was improvising/going radical.
Clay was a dancer, viveur, playboy and a driver in his spare time.
The Team Principal:
Eddie Jordan. Yes, he was a team owner also, but I am putting him in charge of the day-to-day stuff. Maverick, entrepreneurial, resourceful and bonkers. Ask anyone that worked in a team led by Eddie, they would say it was fun and spirited. He would create luck. Dared to challenge and often came out on top. Plus the stories around how he would ambush, attract and deal with sponsors are legendary. Whilst teams are now so corporate and safe, back then, the shackles were off with Eddie.
The team owner:
Lord Hesketh. We have a saying at Manor when looking at inspiration for decisions: “What would Hesketh do?”. Eccentric is an understatement. Add in the above personnel and you have one hell of an entourage at a race weekend. Rip up the rule book. It’s a good thing to remember his mission when involved in modern day Formula 1: “To have as much fun as possible”.
The 1978 Brabham “Fan Car” designed by Gordon Murray. A one-race wonder (the Swedish GP – bet that was a fun race) with a huge fan at the back to suck the car to the road. Lotus driver Mario Andretti said that “it was like a bloody great vacuum cleaner”. It had a dustbin lid as a cover when off the track. It was the year I was born so it’s interesting to see how far Formula 1 cars have come in my lifetime… The fact that it was Bernie Ecclestone’s team, it won the race and kept all of the other teams on their toes gives it extra stand out. Anything that challenges and makes the established order think again is good.
One last wild card, the team chef:
We have Michel Roux Snr cooking for us at the British GP this year. He has held three Michelin stars for thirty years at his restaurant The Waterside Inn. That’s consistency in performance if the others in the fantasy team were up and down! He loves the romance of racing, I could listen to him and his son Alain talk about their motorsport experiences for hours and so would bring a touch of class and strong family values to the team.