McLaren Partnership


GSK and the McLaren Group joined forces in September 2011 to create a long-term strategic collaboration to further innovation in both companies.

What do a Healthcare Company and a F1 Company Have in Common?

The McLaren Group is recognised for their expertise in data analysis, modelling and simulation, engineering and design, and a strong team culture while we are focused on discovering and developing innovative new medicines and products that address the healthcare needs of people around the world.

For example, working with McLaren engineers, we have taken a fresh approach to how we run ‘changeovers’ (setting up a production line to change from making one product to another) at some of our factories, allowing our teams to massively improve our efficiency.

Applying Pit-Stop Thinking to Our Manufacturing Sites

Many processes in a factory have similar steps to a pit-stop in Formula 1: the team working on the project needs to be coordinated, with a very clear goal and ensure every action is done appropriately with the right quality to get a good result.

During a racing season, 80 per cent of an F1 car will change between the first and final races with 22,000 upgrades being applied to each car over just 20 races.

This pace of innovation is a stark contrast to our industry, but there are applications of this real time innovation that have already helped us become more efficient in some of our business areas. For example, our changeover times – shifting from production of one product to another – at one of our factories was cut by 60 per cent after we applied these principles.

Embedding a Winning Performance Mindset in Our Team

This McLaren partnership enables us to to sustainably improve product changeovers on the high speed toothpaste manufacturing line – focusing not only on process but also the people, to embed a winning performance mindset amongst the team.

The McLaren F1 Simulator is a great way of facilitating this – for example, bringing a Formula One simulator to our businesses in Ireland to give our team a taste of the intensity of a high-octane F1 track. These hugely successful events enable our teams to learn from the fast-paced pit-stop environment where mechanics are able to change four tyres in less than three seconds!

We have created a more dynamic business culture by using the partnership to engage and inspire our employees. The core principles that make F1 teams successful are no different to our business, so we are focusing on how they are applied in such a high pace environment and it’s really making a difference.