(Motorsport-Complete.com) – Bob Bell can look back on a brilliant career as a top engineer in Formula 1, where he worked for McLaren, Benetton, Jordan, Renault and Mercedes has worked. In the years of Fernando Alonso’s title wins, he struggled Technical Director of Renault, after the departure of Flavio Briatore, he took over the position of team boss. Most recently he struggled one of the architects of the current success era of Mercedes.
© Renault F1 Crew
Bob Bell sees Formula 1 well positioned for the future Zoom
One of his main concerns has always been to use the knowledge and technology of Formula 1 for the benefit of broad sections of society. For this he has 2019 the non-profit project Grid4Good.org into life called, with which Formula 1 teams and engineers want to solve problems outside of racing.
This year the group struggled centrally on the reaction of Formula 1 to COVID- 19 and, among other projects, contributed to accelerating the development of ventilators for seriously ill patients.
Used to be behind “Grid4Good” is
In the current episode of our interview series #ThinkingForward with leading Bell explains the mission of Grid4Good to heads of sport, predicts a golden age for Formula 1 and looks ahead to a possible fusion of Formula 1 and Formula E. The complete interview is available as Podcast and Video.
Question: “Mr. Bell, how did the Grid4Good initiative come about?”
Bob Bell: “I am a few years ago 60 became and had e always said: When I reach this point, I will withdraw from racing and do something different, something for society. Motorsport does a lot for society, and I’m proud of that. But personally, I always struggle with the view that the influence should be more immediate. Beginning 2019 we launched Grid4Good with some colleagues from Formula 1. “
” Struggle the idea that we take on projects in the background in the non-profit sector and potentially free or inexpensive Linking solution approaches from the world of motorsport. We have helped some UK charities to renew their PR and advertising and marketing and marketing, some Formula 1 PR agencies have done it for us without a fee. And we helped a Formula 1 crew develop new electric wheelchairs. “
” At the beginning of this year, the corona crisis hit and everyone in the paddock was determined to support the government in overcoming the technical challenges. Grid4Good struggle part of it through the ‘Project Pitlane’ initiative. It validated the concept in a way I could never have hoped for. We have a few older medical COVID – 15 – projects launched. And we’re always looking for new projects. “
Bob Bell: Motorsport can provide quick solutions deliver
“You already mentioned the ‘Project Pitlane’, this great reaction from the Formula 1 teams. Not only did the technical innovation struggle, but also the speed of reaction. Normally it takes a long time to develop ventilators in medical technology, but the pace that Formula 1 has put on the label in this area is simply outstanding. “
Bell: “Absolutely! It all came down to the speed of reaction. Formula 1 has this ‘we do it’ attitude, which disappears more and more in the relaxation of the world. The world is becoming more and more complex, more and more bureaucratic, it is becoming more and more difficult to act quickly. “
” When it comes to the reaction of the motorsport world to the COVID arena, they don’t struggle Technology is crucial, especially the fact that we got it done in that time. When we are faced with a challenge, we use our resources to find a solution faster than anyone else. Because that’s what we get paid for! “
Question: “You have long been of the opinion that that switching technology and working methods from motorsport to society at large is incredibly important. Many people are not aware that seat belts, disc brakes or deformable wreck structures – many everyday things – have their origin in motorsport. The fact that this fact is more and more recognized must make you quite satisfied. “
Bell: ” Yes, I’m really proud of the achievements of the entire industry. You have already mentioned some specific products from which many in society today benefit. Used to be but a little lost in the process is progress, because motorsport and especially Formula 1 bring in workflows and methods. In Formula 1, for example, we use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) intensively to create the aerodynamics of cars. “
” During the COVID crisis, we used CFD to analyze the distribution of aerosols from hospital patients. If you have to cough during intubation, how are the aerosols distributed? How long does it take to evacuate that room? Analyzing such really difficult problems is only possible with CFD. And we have the ride to provide credible answers quickly. “
Question: “We are watching a strong shift towards dedicated motorsport. This applies to all sports, but in the future it will no longer be enough for our sport to be just an entertainment platform, especially for the millennial generation. Sustainability, diversity and accessibility – the demand for all of these things has accelerated. And the aspect of social justice is getting bigger and bigger in sport. How do you feel about these aspects? “
Bell: “The Company Social Accountability is especially important for large corporations that have their own Formula 1 crew. These companies need to be much more aware of the social issues in the world, and so do their racing teams. This is going to be really important because society is changing. The younger generation, the followers that we are trying to win and keep, demand something different from us than their predecessors. “
” If we do not acknowledge this and do not react to it , we will lose her. I think Formula 1, under the new leadership of Liberty, with Ross [Brawn] and Dart [Carey], is doing everything it can to ensure that Formula 1 is at the top. And it’s not just about environmental issues, it has a lot to do with inclusivity, things like STEM subjects, diversity, equality and equity. “
Sustainability in Formula 1 decisive
Question: “Last year I met a few young engineers at Mercedes, and quite a few of them were women. And even if you look around the paddock, you will find women in important positions in many teams, for example in racing strategy. Do you feel that the participation of women in sport is increasing and that the faces on the pit wall will look very different in five or ten years in key positions? “
Bell: “Oh, absolutely. And it is to be welcomed. But I think the arena starts earlier in society than in motorsport. I think there is an arena that starts in the first days of school. We have to get a much larger sector of society interested in becoming engineers and scientists. I think we have to work at all levels, from the Foundation, from elementary school up. “
” We have to create a culture of interest in subjects traditionally considered ‘men’s subjects’, namely the sciences. Formula 1 and motorsport can do their part. But we must also see changes on the lower levels. “
Question: “This struggle one important year for Formula 1: the signing of the Concorde Agreement, a reasonable budget ceiling and leveling measures that I never thought we would see in Formula 1. It brought stability in a difficult 2d. But with all your experience: Do you believe that sport will actually be able to capitalize on it and make Formula 1 even better and future-proof? “
Bell: “On every tumble. Formula 1 is always good. I think what we have now, and what we are going to evolve on, will be the best that has ever been. The direction in which it goes, with real attempts to cut costs, is absolutely critical. You can’t justify the budgets that have to be spent on Formula 1 in relation to the relaxation of society, that’s not sustainable. “
Bob Bell: Formula 1 must appeal to young target groups
” And we have to level the playing field; it won’t happen by itself. It will only happen through strong leadership, and that is what we have with the owners of Liberty and the FIA. I don’t think this will diminish the sports spectacle in any way. There will still be great races, we still have great champions, great drivers. “
“Formula 1 is not just about what happens on the racetrack. Increasingly, what happens off the racetrack is of great interest to the public and followers. The success of the Netflix series’ Pressure to Continue to exist ‘, the growing importance of social media – people want more than just the race on a Sunday afternoon. To be sustainable, Formula One has to change and reflect the wants and needs of a potential fan base. Otherwise, it just will wither. “
” Where does the future of sport technically lie? We have this challenge ahead of us. Formula 1 is t essentially a hybrid formula currently dominated by internal combustion engine technology. We have Formula E running in parallel, which is completely electric. This dual tone has to be resolved at some point. I am very optimistic about Formula 1. I think she is in good shape and the outlook is good. “
Used to be is the future: electric or hydrogen?
Question: “We are currently seeing that the budgets of Formula 1 and Formula E are getting closer. As you say, the series will have to merge at some point in the future. But Formula E received an exclusive license for electric formula cars for a long time. If we are in 15, 20 look at the track for years and imagine what motorsport would be like then: Do you see electric or hydrogen-powered cars in the top formula class and at Le Mans? And what will it look like in customer racing, in series-based categories such as touring cars? “
Bell: “Ultimately, the top of the market will get by with zero carbon emissions. Formula 1 and Formula E will settle their differences and maybe merge into a series, whatever it will look like. The same applies to Le Mans – these formulas are all electrically or hydrogen-powered or whatever comes up. I think there will still be a place in the hearts and minds of many people for racing that goes back to another era. “
I think there are many Elements of racing, especially at the Foundation, that may still be a bit out of date. But it’s important to preserve this legacy. The big picture, sustainability can be achieved by the big series. The difference in Formula 1 and the other big ones Series, is the pioneering role by demonstrating technologies that can be used all over the world and accelerating technical progress. To set an example for the relaxation of the world. “