background image

On a mission to drive diversity & inclusion in motorsport

Chief People and Sustainability Officer, Daniel Gallo, on the 2022 Sustainability Report

We've covered our sustainability report in depth since its release in June 2022, but what about the people behind it and the role they're playing in futureproofing the team? As Chief People and Sustainability Officer, Daniel Gallo plays a major role in that.

When it comes to recruitment, it's not just about hiring the very best team members, it’s about giving opportunities to people who wouldn't otherwise have gotten them, bringing in people from diverse backgrounds, who can provide different perspectives, and giving them the very best experience and a platform to succeed.

We want all of our people to dream big, but this can only be achieved if they're given the tools and belief to do so. This is the journey we're currently on, and one that’s full of both tangible and intangible goals and targets. We caught up with Daniel to discuss how we can achieve these aims.

Our sustainability report outlines that we're striving for 40% of our employees to come from underrepresented groups by 2030. Could you please go into depth about what that means?

Underrepresented groups are a person or a group of people who typically, either in a business or in a specific sector or discipline, are not well represented. So for example, we know that in the UK market, women are not well represented within engineering, and within F1, it is even lower.

It could also relate to ethnicities, disabilities and social backgrounds. We want to have people from a really diverse and broad range of backgrounds, whilst ensuring that the people we employ are talented and arrive with the right desire and potential, regardless of their background. As a global brand, we want to offer support and opportunities to a vast array of people - that’s been a real focus for us for some time, with some really good results.

Chief People and Sustainability Officer, Daniel Gallo

There are various different ways in which you can do this, such as looking at different universities and working with talent at an early stage in their careers. In 2021, 43% of our hires were women across the whole of McLaren, and 12% came from ethnic minorities.

Those numbers are encouraging, but we've got a lot more to do. This is a journey and we will continue to push. The target of 2030 is a marker – as a race team, we want to be representative and reflective of the communities we serve and the countries that we race in.

What impact has McLaren Racing Engage had, and what can we expect from it moving forward?

Engage really was quite pioneering, not just in sport and motorsport, but in general, in terms of how we brought together experts from the industry, social enterprise organisations, and charities that are experts in how to deliver greater diversity as an employer.

We may be a sports team, but we are also an employer. We have done some really cool stuff and achieved a lot already: We have delivered 15 STEM days to over 1,000 students with The Smallpeice Trust. We work with schools that are identified as having a proportion of pupils from less privileged backgrounds to hopefully inspire them to pursue STEM careers and demonstrate what prospects our industry can offer. We have sponsored seven new students as part of The Smallpeice Trust’s Arkwright Engineering Scholarship programme, following on from the five scholars that we sponsored in 2022. Each of these students come from underrepresented backgrounds and will receive our support, with mentors, work experience and funding. We will really get to know these students and build a relationship with them, and if they're successful and a good match, they will get a job offer from us before they finish university. Giving those types of opportunities is really exciting.


On top of that, we have matched 32 employees as mentors through the Equal Engineers Pathways Programme for current undergraduates. And we have funded 86 individuals through the Creative Access career development bursary, which is focused on the marketing and the creative industry, providing laptops, driving lessons, travel to interviews, and helping to break down other barriers to success of that kind. We were the first organisation to offer a bursary of that kind, in this industry. There is plenty more that I could talk about as well, such as the Lottie Tours, so we've done loads already, but we want to do even more and expand our collaborations further.

How are we improving our health wellbeing offering?

We need to look after our current employees and ensure that everybody has access to the very best health and wellbeing facilities, tools, insights and training.

We have launched Healix, which is private medical insurance, and the take-up has been phenomenal. Whether you are sat at a desk, which can be stressful on your body, or whether you are up on your feet and have musculoskeletal issues, having a really good healthcare provision is fundamental. Investing in things like that is really important. We'll keep evolving and building on that.

Mental Health First Aiders are important, and we've got a lot of people who have invested their own time into this. We have given them training on how to support their colleagues and made sure that they are visible within our organisation. We have more than 50 employees who now wear that badge of honour, and we're really grateful for everything they do.

We’ve also recently introduced follow-on support for our Mental Health First Aider community to ensure they feel confident in supporting others even after their initial training. This includes quarterly refresher sessions on key mental health topics, a monthly newsletter of mental health news and an online network where the team share resources and useful information amongst each other.


It’s not just the Mental Health First Aiders that pro-actively support the team with their wellbeing. We’ve recently introduced a Management Development programme for all managers and team leaders at McLaren Racing, with seven key modules. One of these covers supporting the wellbeing of your team. Delivered by mental health expert Matthew Holman of Simpila Mental Health, the live session explores the factors that affect a team’s wellbeing and the role of wellbeing in driving performance. It is designed to increase managers’ awareness of mental health and illness, and how to best support their team members if they are struggling with their mental health.

Then there is occupational health, which as a sports team is important to us, and we make sure that everyone has really good access to medical experts to support them with injuries, annual health checks, and anything else they may need.

What are we doing to raise awareness around mental health and mental illness?

We need to use our platform to normalise conversations around mental health and mental illness both internally and externally. My team and I have a key role to play in that, in terms of how we engage with employees where there is mental illness or mental stress and how that is handled. The occupational health that I mentioned is critical as well, and that is an area where Helix can play a part.

The other part of that is how we speak about it internally. We have two wonderful drivers and they speak very openly on this topic. Lando has appeared on This Morning, for example, and that is a reflection of how important the issue is to us as a team and organisation, and our aim to encourage open conversations among our people. There is more we can do and want to do, but we’ve made some great strides and will continue on that journey.

Join the team

McLaren Plus is our free-to-join fan loyalty programme, bringing McLaren fans closer to the team with the most inclusive, rewarding and open-to-all fan programmes in F1 & esports.

Sign up now, or current members can amend their details in the form below if necessary.