In a couple of weeks from now I will be in Monaco, for the annual Motor Sports Business Forum. Last year I was a speaker, this year I’m going one better and I’m chairing the conference.
It’s a busy week for international motorsport and there are many events going on; the World Motor Sport Council meets on Friday morning for the first time with Jean Todt as president.
There is a circuit holders’ meetings and other meetings, all culminating in the FIA Presentation Gala on Friday night, at which Jenson Button will collect his World Champion’s trophy and Ross Brawn will collect the coveted Constructors’ Championship trophy for the Brawn team.
That will be a little piece of history, the Brawn logo will appear on the trophy, the team which only existed for one season. I wonder what the atmosphere will be like between Ross and Jenson now that the champion has defected?
Anyway, back to the Forum, which runs on 9/10 December in the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. The organisers have lined up some very good people to speak this year. Alex Tai, the new team principal of Virgin-backed Manor will be there, so we will find out a lot more about their structure and their plans. He is appearing in a panel on the finances of motorsport. Nick Fry the CEO of Brawn, now Mercedes F1 team will be interesting on the latest developments this week and on the bigger picture of improving the F1 show. From Cosworth we have Mark Gallagher, the boss of the F1 operation.
We will hear from Talal al Zain, who runs Mumtalakat, the Bahrain investment company which owns a 30% stake in McLaren at what is a very interesting time for their partnership.
There are many of the main players from the world of F1 sponsorship speaking at the event, including Dermot Boden from LG, Richard Bracewell from Shell, Gary Carey from Diageo (Johnnie Walker) and Robin Fenwick (Hilton)
On Day 1 there is a World Rally Championship section, with Neil Duncanson, the “Bernie of Rallying”, Simon Long from ISC, which manages the commercial and TV rights, John Nolan, head of digital, who will speak on how the WRC gains massively from social networking. It is an exciting time for them with new manufacturers and star drivers coming in like Kimi Raikkonen. After that the circuit owners will have a session, with Sepang and Nurburgring among the circuits represented.
Day 2 opens with a discussion on improving the show, with Fry along with representatives of Singapore GP, the F1 Rocks programme and others then it’s into a discussion on the business of motor sport with representatives from World Superbikes, Porsche Cup, Moto GP and finally a media-based discussion on a subject close to my heart; delivering F1 news to a mass market, with some of the leading F1 journalists and broadcasters of the modern age, including Autosport.com’s Jon Noble, Reuters’ Alan Baldwin and the redoubtable Joe Saward.
For more information and to register for this event go to www.msbforum.com.