As Team Manager of BMW i Andretti's Formula E team, Campbell Hobson believes the success of a team reflects the teamwork that is found within.
In a championship such as Formula E, unexpected turn of events can happen in the blink of an eye. Take for example in season five when the BMW i Andretti Motorsport Team were seemingly on their way to a smooth one-two podium victory in Marrakesh, until both of their drivers then, Alexander Sims and António Félix da Costa collided into each other with just a few minutes left before the race finish. When an incident such as this occurs, it is the role of the team manager to steer the team forwards.
Campbell Hobson, who is the Team Manager of BMW i Andretti Motorsport remembers that day very well, “I think obviously everyone was down and disappointed at the time,” he says when we spoke to him before season six of the championship began at the official pre-season testing in Valencia. “But it comes down to the people involved and there were no bad feelings amongst everyone in the team,” he explains. “We look forward to the future and that’s what we did for the rest of the season and the results kept coming. It’s just a matter of keeping everyone positive and learning from our mistakes.”
The combination of two different groups - the Andretti side and the BMW side - that’s what I'm trying to bring together and make that work as one. It is a big challenge.
He explains that being team manager is primarily an organisational role. Working closely with the chief mechanic and the logistics team, Hobson is tasked with arranging the team’s schedules and ensuring everyone has all the tools and equipment needed to carry out their responsibilities. He is also the team member who liaises with the FIA and the race stewards should anything go wrong on the track.
“Incidents always happen and if things aren’t going our way, it’s easy for everyone to feel down. It’s always about looking forward and if you’ve had a bad weekend, it’s about picking everyone up and going to the next race and aiming to do better there,” he says.
From combustion to electric racing
Hobson graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and moved to the UK from Australia in the early 2000s where he spent over a decade working in Formula 2. He joined the Formula E championship in season three with Techeetah and worked as a race engineer before moving on to his current position in the BMW i Andretti Motorsport Team today.
What was it that made him diverge into the all-electric championship? “I guess like a lot of people in motorsport, I had done combustion engine racing for a long time, so to move to something completely different and new is a good challenge and obviously it’s a way of the future. To make that transition is for the better from my perspective.”
In season five, the Andretti Formula E team turned into a BMW works team when the German manufacturer officially came on board. It’s Hobson’s job to make sure the two can join forces into one smooth operation, “The combination of two different groups - the Andretti side and the BMW side - that’s what I’m trying to bring together and make that work as one and it is a big challenge,” he says.
Hobson, who was speaking during the season six pre-season testing in Valencia, thinks the improvement in the team is obvious compared to where they were the previous year, “I think we’ve made a big step. It’s great to be in a position where everyone is working well together and knows the procedures and operations, it’s much smoother.”
In it together
Before the current Formula E season came to a temporary halt due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the team seemed to be in their strongest position yet, with the two drivers Maximilian Günther and Alexander Sims both having scored one race win each after five rounds into season six. Although with the fierce competition on the grid, things can quickly change in Formula E and it will be a tough fight to stay on top of the competition, but Hobson is a true believer in the power of teamwork. “I think as long as everyone can see the end goal, which is trying to win as many races as possible and ultimately to try and win the championship. Everyone is on that same path, then you work together to overcome that challenge. If everyone buys into that concept then you overcome it as a team.”
Developing the future of mobility
After almost four years in the all-electric championship and having witnessed the ins-and-outs of the series’ technological advancements, Hobson is excited about the progress Formula E is making, “We can only hope it keeps growing. We have a field of top drivers and top people who work in the industry who now work in Formula E so it can only get bigger and better.”
Video production: Scott McNamara / Leo Laguna
Formula E People
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