CIO Interview: Clare Lansley, CIO, Aston Martin Formula One

Clare Lansley, CIO of Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One, portrays the role of the modern IT leader and says he is lucky to be in his dream job: “I have been an F1 fan all my life, thanks to the good will of my parents. I was indoctrinated at an early age.”

While he is a motor racing enthusiast, it is not just the sporting environment on paper that is appealing. Lansley, who joins Aston Martin F1 in July 2022, also enjoys the fast-paced nature of the industry. As someone who has already worked in senior IT positions for Jaguar Land Rover and McLaren, the characteristics of the sector are compatible with his own working style.

“I like the fact that it’s dynamic and that you have to keep an open mind because ideas can come from anywhere,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter if the ideas come from a newly appointed graduate to the CEO. The whole concept of collaboration – because you’re all coming together for a common goal – is really attractive.”

The success of the track depends on the combination of people and systems from it. Lansley said that innate sense of connection – allied to his passion for the sport – made taking the opportunity to lead Aston Martin F1 technology an easy decision.

“Honestly, if you’re working with corporations, they can be siloed,” he said. “There is a hierarchy, they change slowly, and I want to get back to something faster – somewhere you can affect change immediately.”

Leaving the starting grid

As CIO of Aston Martin F1, Lansley reports to the group’s chief commercial officer and oversees an internal IT team of 40 people. After six months in that role, he started to create his program for digital transformation.

“My focus now is to embed within the team and prepare things for success,” he said. “I don’t do much globetrotting. But going forward, I want to go out to the races, so that I can understand the stress that our kit goes through and how we can make our processes more gentle on the track.

“I’m not always in the marketing suite. I like being in the garage because that’s my responsibility. Engineers are in their seats because that’s where they can add value, so I have to go to their workplace, be with them”

Clare Lansley, Aston Martin Knows F1

Lansley is not your traditional CIO – and in more ways than one. She recognizes that she is a woman in what is usually considered a man’s sport. As well as turning that perception on its head, Lansley wants to make a step change in IT leadership style. Instead of being stuck in the datacentre, he wants to spend more time involved in the business.

“Rest assured, I’m not always in the marketing suite,” he said. “I like being in the garage because it’s my responsibility. Engineers are at their desks because that’s where they add value, so I have to go to their workplace, interact with them. And I think that’s a very different approach to maybe what’s happened in the past in F1.

While Lansley has held senior management positions in the motor industry before, this is his first CIO role. He knew from the start that this was the kind of IT leadership opportunity he had been dreaming of – especially given Aston Martin F1’s long-term ambitions and the role technology was expected to play in that journey.

“When I went for an interview, I started to understand the growth and what needs to happen in technology to transform it and use it as an enabler for the wider team. Obviously, the everything has to do with technology in this industry – from designing the car to starting the car – so you have a big journey to go on,” he said.

“The amount of change that needs to happen to make this a championship-winning team is impressive. And given that I have a background in delivering, doing the planning and driving the agenda to ensure that technology-led change happen and be implemented at the right time is a good combination.

Increase in rank

Aston Martin F1’s direction of travel changed in January 2020, when billionaire Lawrence Stroll invested £182m in the motor company. The following year, the Racing Point F1 team was rebranded as Aston Martin F1.

An ambition was established for the team to compete for podiums in the sport within five years. Last year, the team finished seventh in the constructors’ championship. Lansley said the journey to long-term success will continue through 2023.

Aston Martin F1’s journey to long-term success will continue apace in 2023

“A lot has been learned,” he said. “There’s obviously been a fair amount of investment since Lawrence bought the team. A lot of new talent has been brought in and there’s been a fair amount of internal process change. But time is absolutely of the essence in this industry. “

Lansley says there’s no hiding from the need to deliver immediate results. “It’s necessary,” he said. “As well as making sure the basics are in place – so that means the reliability and the performance, given – my day job is to change faster and smarter.”

As part of that process, Lansley is looking for digital innovations – either internally or from trusted partners – that will help his team scale the grid. “We’re looking for a competition,” he said.

“We need to use the power of data. We need to use technology to give us an edge in the circuit, whether that’s from a simulation and design perspective or in terms of establishing what trends what the data shows us. It’s all about anticipating the future based on the data we’ve already got.”

Overcoming obstacles

Lansley’s technological ambitions are shaped by the rules and regulations of the game as much as the people who lead the team. His strategy is closely related to the requirements of the FIA ​​cost cap, which limits the amount that teams can spend on cars. Dealing with these regulations means carefully considering how the team’s IT budget is invested.

“We ask questions like, ‘Can we make smarter spending?’ From an IT perspective, we ask, ‘Can we reason?’ You always try to make sure that your inheritance is small and tidy. And because applications and tools date so quickly, we ask, ‘Are we providing the best value to our business partner?’

As well as ensuring that existing systems are cost-effective and efficient, Lansley’s team is also exploring how they can take advantage of data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). He said AI will help the team analyze images, whether that’s from the wind tunnel or the track, and they can use the data to make smarter predictions about the car’s performance.

“There’s some serious hard-core tech available, which means you have to have some high-level talent to use it and use it,” he said. “But the data it gives you means you can jumpstart some of your testing and development processes.”

Aston Martin F1 generates a lot of information. Lansley estimates that his team manages about 400TB (terabytes) of data. Changes outside of the game bring additional complications. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine meant the country was dropped from the race schedule. However, Russia may return to the race map one day. The IT team needs to make historical race data – such as timings and weather conditions – available at speed.

“A big challenge of mine is that we have all this data. I have to ask, ‘Do we need it and, if so, where do I put it?’,” he said. “Managing the data so it’s easy to use is the key. But we also need to manage the cost. As I mentioned before, the amount of cost drives a lot of options from a technical perspective.

Gives a good performance

AI also helps the company to ensure that IT operations are as efficient as possible. Lansley uses Juniper’s Mist AI platform, which uses a combination of AI, machine learning and data science to optimize user experiences and simplify operations across the network.

He said that the technology of self-healing properties is very important. Mist AI, for example, will try to fix a wireless access point that is struggling. If this is not possible, the platform sends an alert to IT. When the team replaces the failed device, Mist AI automatically pushes the configuration for the old network directly to the new device.

“Fog is using AI to help transform how we support infrastructure,” he says, before adding that automation means his talented staff can spend more time making a difference to the team rather than focusing on of operational concerns. “This means I can do nothing and my people can concentrate on activities that add value.”

“We are not an IT team sitting in the basement. That working model is long gone. We want to be considered an integral partner in the team because we make a lot of things happen”

Clare Lansley, Aston Martin Knows F1

Lansley says F1 has unique requirements in terms of reliability and performance. Any technology should deliver great results quickly and consistently. He says the industry-leading features offered by Mist AI give the business the innovation it wants and the operational insight it needs.

“That’s what we’re looking to capitalize on,” he said. “The fact that the platform gives me access to everything in one dashboard – and I can go straight to it, it’s self-healing and I can investigate issues remotely – means I don’t have to send someone in a corridor go and check a device.”


Lansley said the capacity to give his staff more time to make game-changing decisions for the business is his number one priority moving forward. His goal is to empower his team, improve efficiency and embrace innovation.

“We have to push the boundaries. You need to have a motivated team and they need to find something good. We have sexy software and great concepts around the business. Being able to partner with our business partners to unlock the power of technology is what we want,” he said.

“We want to sit next to the aerodynamicists who help them. We are not an IT team sitting in the basement. That working model is long gone. We want to be considered an integral partner in the team because we make a lot of things happen.

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