FEATURE16 May 2019

Pushing the limit

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Under Bernie Ecclestone, market research didn’t exist as far as Formula One was concerned. But with new ownership, Matt Roberts and his team were given the remit to change that. By Jane Bainbridge


It’s many people’s dream work scenario – being made global director with the opportunity to build your team from scratch. No need to put up with irritating legacies, be they team members or badly crafted trackers. Oh, and throw in a glamorous sport, with celebrities, travel and massive reach, and you’ve got a rather heady mix. But this is exactly what was offered to Matt Roberts when he was appointed global research director for Formula One (F1 ).

It’s not hard to see why he was approached for the role: Roberts had almost ideal experience, combining media and sports. First entering the world of market research on the Millward Brown graduate scheme – via several ad sales researcher roles, ESPN, Eurosport and BT Sport – he ended up at Sky Sports. “I didn’t intend to leave Sky, because I enjoyed working there, but then F1 came calling. My brand research, coupled with knowledge of how TV audiences and commercial works, ...