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Another member of F1's 'old guard' "steps down"

NEWS STORY
16/08/2021

The departure of one of the last members of Formula One Management's 'old guard' poses more questions than it answers.

On the face of it, Friday's press release stating that Kate Beavan, F1's Director of Hospitality and Experiences, was to step down barely flickered on the sport's radar.

"There is no better job than the one I have been doing for Formula 1 over the last few years," said Beavan, who steps down at the end of August, "and it has been my joy and privilege to work with the most committed and passionate team of staff and partners in innovating and delivering the F1 Paddock Club.

"The world of live sporting events and high-end hospitality is alive and kicking," she added, "and full of future opportunities with Formula 1 uniquely placed to capitalise upon these. I wish everyone at Formula 1 all the success they deserve."

"I want to thank Kate for her commitment to Formula 1 over many years and most recently at the helm of our hospitality team these past 4 years," added Stefano Domenicalli.

"I particularly congratulate her on her recent achievement in reopening the Formula 1 Paddock Club, even though the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic are still being felt. It was a tremendous success that she and her team were able to hold a fantastic, luxury hospitality event for thousands of guests at Silverstone last month under COVID secure conditions. We wish her the very best for her future."

There will not be a replacement for the role, the press release informed us, with her responsibilities being merged into another directorate within Formula 1.

Beavan, a lawyer by trade, joined Formula One Management in 2003, and in those first few years rapped our knuckles - albeit lightly - on a couple of occasions, usually to do with logos and the like.

She was recruited personally by Bernie Ecclestone subsequently admitting that the sport's supremo, who "didn't do job titles", gave her a far-reaching remit which was basically commercial opportunities.

"I spent my time looking out for and sealing deals on commercial opportunities," she told the World's Best Events, "whether it be IP, licensing, theme parks or F1 in cinemas.

"He sent me to scout out all kinds of opportunities. One of the things was to look at the hospitality business that they had just reacquired from Paddy McNally - the Formula One Paddock Club - and I became hooked. I loved the hospitality side of the business; it really appealed to me. Since then I have just thrown myself into it and it's now my full-time role.

"It's what I was born to do," she added. "It's a combination of business, creativity and people, and I'm very much a people person. When you combine that with a scope for being creative, innovative and running a business, it's perfect."

Which begs the question, why then is she stepping down.

Her departure comes at a time the (F1) hospitality sector is just ramping up again, indeed the Paddock Club was welcoming guests at Silverstone.

"Under her direction, the Paddock Club offering has been enhanced and developed by innovations such as the creation of the highly successful F1 Experiences programme, the Hot Laps programme, live car auctions with RM Sotheby's as well as a raft of experiential innovations for Paddock Club guests," read Friday's press release. "More recently, despite the debilitating effect that the pandemic has had on the hospitality industry worldwide, Kate and her team launched the novel Virtual Paddock Club and last month she successfully reopened the Paddock Club, welcoming a record 2000 guests to Silverstone in a COVID secure, luxury environment."

Yet, rather than 'replacing' Beavan with another specialist, "her responsibilities (are) being merged into another directorate within Formula 1".

It was under Liberty Media's ownership of the sport that she was officially made Director of Hospitality and Experiences however, the fact is that she was very much one of FOM's old guard, recruited by the man himself.

Having first entered the F1 paddock back in 2003 with Arrows, Beavan and Domenicali go back a long way and it will be strange for him to see her go.

Without knowing the exact reason for the decision to 'step down' it would be wrong to draw conclusions, but the fact that someone who made such a great success of their role is not being replaced and their role "merged into another directorate within Formula 1" surely poses more questions than it answers.

Indeed, on the same day as F1 announced Ms Beavan's decision to step down, the Financial Times ran an article in which she was quoted as the sport's head of hospitality, thereby suggesting her 'departure' was more sudden than one might believe.

Interesting to think, also, that with all those years under her belt at FOM, not to mention her legal background, Ms Beavan must know where a few of those infamous bodies are buried.

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1. Posted by kenji, 19/08/2021 0:29

"@ Max Noble...Ah..to smell the salt at 5.00am on a mid summer morning is an experience never forgotten!!! Most difficult to put into words."

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2. Posted by Max Noble, 18/08/2021 10:06

"@Kenji - too many have already selected the spot they would like to hide the body… :-)"

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3. Posted by kenji, 18/08/2021 1:29

"@ Max Noble hahaha...never thought that you were shy....stay safe."

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4. Posted by Max Noble, 17/08/2021 23:35

"@Kenji - Ah! Location. Well we are not quite “The last friendly house before the sea”, but we are most certainly in the greater Perth area :-)"

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5. Posted by kenji, 17/08/2021 12:13

"@ Max Noble...Good one Max, but no cigar! Herbal tea up here on the 'Goldie' is a no no. It's all vodka shots and ristretto, hyper mustangs in platinum flake and Lambos galore. Herbal tea, colonic irrigation and tai chi are 100k's down the freeway in Byron Bay where we used to live for many years. Xanadu was, I agree, a bit of a stretch but I gave it my best shot. What little I've learned, as far as written humour is concerned, is that for it to be successful it has to short...and funny haha. The British have a unique sense of humour but unfortunately it doesn't translate well...more's the pity. Location is all important...which brings me to the next point. Peppermint Grove,Dalkeith/Nedlands/Claremont or Cottesloe?"

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6. Posted by Max Noble, 17/08/2021 9:51

"@Kenji - LOL, keep taking the herbal tea! Humour is a devil to get across in written form. I’m amazed at how readers interpret passages I’ve written! Biggest risk I took recently was the “Xanadu” article. I’m forever grateful to esteemed editor Balfe for his on-going support, but that article was asking for quite a leap of faith!"

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7. Posted by kenji, 17/08/2021 4:24

"@Flyinglap...It was my feeble attempt at 'low level cynical wit'! Obviously I have failed badly. Memo to self...'must do better'...cheers. NB..Latest news states that all Paddock Club members and guests will need to present with a valid high level pass mark [ min. 95%+ ] in their latest Harvard IAT test. Any members found in the enclosure with fake certs. will be forced to wear a 'say his name, Jamal Khashoggi', T Shirt at the inaugral Saudi Arabian GP."

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8. Posted by flyinglap, 16/08/2021 19:08

"@ kenji, that would be too simple indeed... but it is not. The 'cost cap' is intended for the teams, not for FOM itself. In fact, FOM's expenses have only steadily increased since Liberty Media took over and started 'reinventing' the sport. I can speculate it was a matter of personal views conflicting with the 'politically correct' agenda of the current owners (to put it mildly). Possibly, a new style of hospitality may soon become apparent to the people who have been and will be visiting the Paddock Club."

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9. Posted by kenji, 16/08/2021 12:46

"It's all too simple...It's the cost cap'."

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