My Race Day: Zak Brown

Motor Racing – Formula One World Championship – Italian Grand Prix – Race Day – Monza, Italy

A powerful motorsport marketer, founder of JMI, former CEO of CSM Sport & Entertainment and the current CEO of McLaren Racing, mister Zak Brown shows us what his typical race day looks like.

The night before. Each race has its own requirements, but one constant is that time-management is vital. Whatever I’ve been doing the night before, I’m always up very early to get to the track. There might have been a dinner the previous evening, or a client event, but the Formula 1 paddock is one of the very few places I know where all the people I need to speak to will be in the same place at the same time.

Arriving. Monaco, Silverstone, Singapore and Austin are the most hectic for me and my team but arriving in the paddock early is a must at any race as you are more likely to avoid travel disruptions and you give yourself more time to get important things done. I normally have two or three breakfast meetings – but only one breakfast – and these are with team principals and other senior figures from the sport. JMI has a business relationship with more than half of the F1 grid, as well as FOM, so maintaining these bonds is a very important part of what we do.

I don’t like to come away from a race and feel that I haven’t got 100 per cent out of it from a business point of view.

Guests arrive. I might well have dashed between four or five motorhomes by the time that our clients and their guests arrive and making sure that they all have the best experience possible is uppermost in my mind. If your company has invested heavily in Formula 1, and JMI’s clients have, then they demand, and deserve, to be well looked after. It is clearly a great opportunity to talk about how their partnership programme is going and how, if possible, it can be improved.

Meetings. A race weekend is also a fabulous chance to engage with prospective clients and show them the sport from the inside. A lot of work goes into connecting brands with Formula 1, whether it is with a team or as a global partner, but putting senior executives at the heart of it all is vital to the process. They get to see, smell, feel and hear the build-up and the race from the heart of the sport’s inner sanctum. On race day I can introduce them to senior personnel from teams and to key stakeholders in Formula 1.

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My day is meticulously planned by my team and nothing is left to chance. All my meetings must run to time and you have to be where you say you are going to be and at the specified time or an opportunity can pass you by. I don’t like to come away from a race and feel that I haven’t got 100 per cent out of it from a business point of view as the people that I deal with at the track are CEOs from some of the world’s biggest brands.

The race. As the race draws near I take clients onto the grid so that they couldn’t be more at the center of the action. It is a special place to be as the teams and drivers prepare for the race and it always gives me a tremendous buzz. As soon as the lights go out I can start to wind down and take stock of the day. No two race days are the same, but they are always busy and full of possibilities.




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