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F1 facing staff shortage says Wolff

NEWS STORY
08/09/2018

In an interview with Forbes in which she mainly focusses on her desire to see more women in motorsport, Susie Wolff reveals a conundrum currently facing the sport.

Asked what F1 should be doing to break down gender barriers, she reveals that (her husband) "Toto and the head of HR at Mercedes F1 are 'very conscious of the fact that there's not enough people applying for the top positions'.

"He is not concerned about what gender they employ," she admits. "He's just concerned about the level of talent and he will always pick the best candidate for that role, regardless of gender.

"I think they're very conscious of the fact that there's not enough people applying for the top positions. The Head of HR at Mercedes is also very aware of that and is trying to change the situation."

Of course, if Mercedes, known to have the biggest headcount of the British-based F1 teams, is struggling to fill its top positions, what of those teams further down the pitlane with less money available.

To further complicate the issue, there is the proposed budget, the first phase of which is due to be introduced next year.

In May Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that the budget cap could see teams being forced to shed "potentially thousands of jobs" with suppliers also likely to have to lay-off staff - somewhat ironic when one considers the efforts of the FIA and Liberty Media to save the 405 jobs at Force India.

To add to the problem, with Wolff admitting that his team is struggling to fill "top positions", one can assume that the highest paid roles, which in most other industries would be the first to be shed in times of trouble, would also be under threat.

However, these are also the people who most likely will make the biggest difference to a team - the design guru, the ace strategist - which means the teams would be far more reluctant to shed them, no doubt meaning that 'less important' roles would be dropped.

The bottom line is that the budget cap sends out a global signal that F1 teams aren't in the market to hire and will instead have to fire people in the years ahead, thereby making it even harder to attract people for those "top positions"

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1. Posted by Egalitarian, 12/09/2018 3:27

"At the risk of sounding like a crusty old ... this statement
"They [edit: assuming this is the manufacturers] don't do what they do in search of getting a laurel and a hardy handshake. They're in it for the money. Mercedes isn't going to spend 400 million if there isn't at least 400 million ROI..." probably identifies some of what is wrong about F1 these days.
Whilst I acknowledge that manufacturers usually only care about $ (shareholders etc...), the people who made F1 great all of those years ago did actually care about doing things with a real passion for the sport and with a view to winning for the sake of it - not for the financial reward, although that was definitely a bonus. That said, I am not so naive to not understand that money, and now huge money, can make all of the difference, but think about Brabham, Bruce McLaren, the advent of Chapman's ground effects (sp?), Ken Tyrell & co, Walter Wolf doing what he did, Hesketh to some extent as well, Barnard, active suspension, the Renault damper thingy. That was when doing things really well combined with passion and innovation made F1 interesting. It just doesn't feel like that nowadays. Sometimes I wonder if the Gen Y and Millenials thing has anything to do with a lack of passion for passion's sake, rather than "I'm a UX designer - pay me lots of money""

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2. Posted by nonickname, 10/09/2018 9:41

"All staff problems will vanish with a budget cap...there would be more than enough work for the reduced number of positions. "

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3. Posted by Spindoctor, 08/09/2018 22:17

"@elsiebc - nicely put!"

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4. Posted by elsiebc, 08/09/2018 17:38

"JClark-Monza1967 - On the contrary, F1 is the only one who can be held responsible. F1 is responsible for the value of the sport. There is a value in winning, there is a value in just competing. They don't do what they do in search of getting a laurel and a hardy handshake. They're in it for the money. Mercedes isn't going to spend 400 million if there isn't at least 400 million ROI. To get teams to spend less, it needs to be worth less, something Liberty Media is moving forward with."

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5. Posted by JClark-Monza1967, 08/09/2018 16:22

"While I'm sympathetic to those that might lose their jobs, F1 can't be held responsible for the decisions of the big teams to throw absurdly huge staffing numbers at their efforts to win. The sport desperately needs to get spending under control and that obviously means that some staff will have to be cut. The future of F1 can't be held hostage by the maintain the status quo."

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