As part of our Make A Mark ESG programme, we're committed to driving positive change in the communities where we live, work and race.
Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, we visited McGill University's downtown Montréal campus to make an impact and inspire the next generation. Along with colleagues from our Title Partner Cognizant and Official Creator Partner TikTok, we swapped the racetrack for the lecture theatre to take part in a series of illuminating panel discussions exploring how the business and engineering of Formula One intersect, drive innovation, and affect the world around us.
The event began with an introduction by Desautels Faculty of Management Associate Professor Karl Moore, who joined AMF1 Team Chief Marketing Officer Rob Bloom to explore the changing landscape of business in Formula One, sponsors' growing expectations, and the recent effect that Netflix has had on F1.
"It's a real honour and privilege to be invited here to McGill University today to have an event talking about the business and technology of Formula One," said Rob. "We've been here with our partners Cognizant and TikTok to meet the students and have really interesting conversations about everything from fan engagement to brand positioning and diversity and inclusion in the sport of Formula One.
"Part of our Make A Mark strategy is to leave a positive, lasting legacy everywhere that we race and today was a great example of that in play."
Andrew Hanff, Cognizant's Head of Advisory and Consulting for Canada – also Partner and VP at Cognizant – then led a discussion about engineering and data analytics with Alvin Pastore, Senior Data Scientist at AMF1 Team and Cognizant.
AMF1 Team Chief Marketing Officer Rob Bloom was subsequently joined by TikTok's Head of Sports and Gaming North America Adam Burchill plus TikTok personalities and broadcasters Daniel Zakrzewski and Marissa Roberto, both of whom will be joining our team in the paddock at the Canadian Grand Prix. Together, they took a closer look at AMF1 Team's marketing strategy, how authenticity is crucial to telling and creating stories, and why the voice of creators such as Daniel and Marissa has become so important.
AMF1 Team Driver Ambassador Jessica Hawkins then sat down with Cognizant Business Analyst Bobbi Ward-Holmes and AMF1 Team's Head of Brand & Marketing, Kate Dalton, for a thought-provoking discussion on women in F1 and technology. All three speakers explored their own careers in male-dominated industries while offering advice to the attending students.
"It's been a great day here at McGill University at the Cognizant event," said Jess. "We've had several people from the F1 team talking about their role in the industry, their role in the team, from marketing to tech, and it's been great to be involved. It's nice to speak to everyone about where I come from and my journey in motorsport and speaking about women in motorsport; I just think it's really important that we are able to keep raising awareness of all of these subjects."
"Today has been really special, especially for the students," added Bobbi. "I think it's very beneficial for the students here, especially because we have an F1 race every year here and right here in Montréal, there are always street festivals going on, the whole week, everyone is crazy about Formula One, and I think being able to not just see the race but hear about what's going on behind the scenes and see how business decisions are made, the strategies that are put in place, is very, very important."
Elena, a finance and retail management student at McGill, said: "I absolutely loved the conference today. It really touched on a lot of points from the business of Formula One and learning about how the sport has evolved so much in recent years with the start of Drive to Survive and the impact of social media on the sport. It was so interesting because as students we are on it all the time and it's completely changed how we view the sport.
"Wrapping it up with the women of Formula One was a great way to end the conference because it's such an important topic right now and we've got great feedback from all the students – they were just really happy that we were able to have that discussion and address the topics and challenges we face in technology and in the sport of Formula One."
At last year's Canadian Grand Prix, we invited McGill University students on a behind-the-scenes tour of the AMF1 Team garage and, together with Cognizant, we invited another group of students from the university to join us at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Thursday of the Canadian Grand Prix for a stimulating and unforgettable experience that took them to the heart of the paddock. They spent time with AMF1 Team members and were given the chance to learn more about the breadth of career opportunities in Formula One.
We are committed to making a mark wherever we go, using the sport as a platform for change – bringing people closer to Formula One and inspiring others – and ultimately, leaving a lasting positive legacy.
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