A couple of weeks ago I was kindly invited to the HQ of one of Formula 1’s newest teams, the Russian owned Marussia F1.
They are based in Bunbury, near Oxford and have built up a team from scratch in a very short period of time. They first found out they had been one of the 3 successful applicants in June 2009 and had less than 8 months to put a car onto the grid in time for the Bahrain GP at the start of the 2010 season.
They now have a staff of around 180 with the aim to grow it to nearer the 250 mark. In terms of where they are against their rivals at the top of the table, they are nowhere near!
The reason for our visit was to ask questions to the team and one of their sponsors, Monster Jobs. They partnered up after the team of 1, as it was then and is now 3, in the HR department who needed help in filling some of the more specific roles.
Katie Allen is in charge of bringing in the right people to the team. Social Media has been something they have discussed a lot internally, especially this year, on how to best use it.
Currently it is seen as something for the fans rather than recruitment, which takes place through the website. One thing they have done is work with Monster on bringing a jobs board onto their Facebook page. It may not be a large page in terms of numbers but the idea is that then others within the company or industry can share the posts amongst their friends. Chances are these friends are in the industry or a similar one and they may get some good leads from this.
One of the keys in getting the right staff has been to show what is unique about the team and how grounded they are. The term ‘family’ is one used by all involved when talking about the team. They have achieved this by video content and this has helped in giving candidates an idea as to what to expect from the team and is seeded out to sites (like UKSN) when there is something relevant.
We covered their search for a ‘Social Media Driver’ ahead of the British GP. This has been replicated around the world with the initiative bringing fans into the heart of the experience of F1, giving them access they could never have dreamed of.
So far these videos have been viewed over 250k times and resulted in a huge number of people applying for positions.
Katie said “The branding work we’ve done with Monster has definitely caused a stir in the industry. And, in addition to hearing positive feedback from the candidates we meet, we have also seen excitement amongst our current team members which has been an unexpected benefit.”
We then had the opportunity to speak with the team President and Sports Director, Graham Lowden. For him Social Media has been at the heart of bringing fans (and potential employees) closer to the team and developing the brand.
At the start, which they are still close to, it has been about building up a team from scratch with the emphasis being on the main logistics of getting a car onto the F1 start grid.
It has been Geoff Collins who really pushed the team to be involved with social as part of the development from an early stage. They realise it is hugely important but at the same time presents significant challenges. As an industry, F1 doesn’t do enough thinking together on what they can do better in things like social and he feels they should do it more.
There are a number of Marussia F1 senior staff on Twitter and Graham himself (although not on Twitter himself) used to tweet from the pitwall during race weekends. Giving fans a valuable insight into what goes on and how the team are progressing.
Recently he admits they have become so busy with race weekends’ being so close together, that it has slipped. But they plan to do more again soon.
We also had chance to speak to F1 veteran Timo Glock. He has driven for Jordan, Toyota, Virgin and now Marussia. He helps develop the team from a car performance point of view as well as getting results on the track to boost the team in F1. The weekend before we spoke, Timo had produced a best ever finish for the team by cfinishing 12th in Singapore.
You can see more of what he had to say in the video below but there were a couple of questions that avoided the camera.
One question I was keen to ask was on his tweets about making food. A couple of years ago we wrote about his link up with an F1 site that brought together his love of food and Twitter. Fans were asked to help choose what he cooked and then got to see the results.
This started off as a bit of fun but once it was getting more coverage this became lost for Timo. It took away from what he did as a driver and became a bit of a joke that he just spent his time cooking and not driving. This is why he stopped doing it.
Now watch the video below to hear more about his thoughts on Twitter, Facebook and engaging with fans…
Thanks to Marussia for being great hosts and to Monster Jobs / 3 Monkeys for setting the day up and inviting us along. We’ll be keeping an eye out for the teams results from here on in for sure.
Here are some pics from the day;