Some MoneyGram Haas F1 racing team representatives made a “pit stop” to visit Highland Park High School Moody Advanced Professional Studies (MAPS) students Oct. 18 ahead of the U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix Oct. 20-22 in Austin.
MoneyGram became the title sponsor of the Haas F1 team in 2022.
Moneygram Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner, MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes, MoneyGram chief marketing officer Greg Hall (father of Highland Park High School junior Ellery Hall, who’s taking brain science and health in the MAPS program), and drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg, brought an F1 car and spoke to MAPS students in a conversation moderated by Nicole Briscoe of ESPN about everything from the technology involved in F1 racing, analyzing race data, race strategy, marketing, and more.
“We have designed and raced our own (model) F1 cars, explored the corporate benefits of sponsoring an F1 team, delved into the brains of F1 race drivers, learned about F1 efforts to be carbon neutral within a decade, and discussed the challenges in effectively marketing an F1 team across the globe,” Ellery said. “The breadth of our learning has been simply incredible.”
Greg said Formula 1 has seen a lot of interest and growth in the U.S. in recent years.
“From 2016 to 2020, that 18-25 demographic just skyrocketed in interest in the sport,” he said. “That swell of interest just helps from an entire branding perspective.”
Steiner described how the team got started based on a business plan in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
“After speaking with Mr. Haas for a little bit more than a year, he decided, ‘let’s start an F1 team,’ and here we are now 12 years later. I think we are well established in F1,” he said.
“The culture that Guenther had … collaborative, is very similar to what Alex built at (MoneyGram), so when we put those teams together, we found we were able to accomplish quite a bit in a short amount of time,” Greg said.
Hulkenberg described working with engineers to prepare his car for races.
“The race weekend is when it’s the most contact, the most intense,” he said. “We go through the setup … strategies. Already early in the week, we’d have Zoom meetings discussing what we want to do, how we set up the car. As the weekend starts, you work and progress through it.”
Magnussen discussed how he uses data as a driver. He said he compares data with other drivers and works with a small group of engineers to analyze data.
Steiner also discussed the development of F1 cars, which also undergo an extensive testing process.
“Every year in Formula 1, you make a complete new car,” he said. “If you look at a five-year-old car, it seems to be 20 years old because the evolution is so dramatic every year.”
As for what happens when the team comes to race in Texas, that doesn’t happen anywhere else? “A lot of brisket.”
Ahead of the Oct. 18 visit, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson proclaimed Oct. 18 MoneyGram Haas F1 Team Day in the city.