INSIGHT: How McLaren and Arrow SPM have grown together

Image by Phillip Abbott/LAT

INSIGHT: How McLaren and Arrow SPM have grown together

Insights & Analysis

INSIGHT: How McLaren and Arrow SPM have grown together


Of the dozen-plus new influences to the team, it’s Hampson who holds the greatest potential to infuse the program’s engineering efforts with new ideas and results-driven methodologies that will move the program forward.

Make no mistake about O’Ward and Askew and all the resources McLaren has brought; collectively, they will have a huge influence. But coming out of a winless 2019 season where two podium finishes served as Arrow SPM’s highlights, the addition of Hampson has been spoken of by his peers as the most transformational acquisition for AMSP.

“The beauty of what Craig’s got going on right now is that he’s able to float, and understand how we do things without a gun to his head and without a car to run,” Kiel said. “So it’s a really good time for him to absorb, but, obviously, also to be able to spread his knowledge across both cars, right? So, without a responsibility of running a car right now, he’s able to float between Will and Blair, and understand what they’re doing and move on, and why we’re doing it.

“Yes, he’s got a ton of experience, but he’s also onboarding himself. He needs to get used to his new computer, and his new office, and the new trucks, and the new people and all that. So, it’s a good opportunity to get him up to speed slowly without any real pressure.”

Craig Hampson. Image by Michael Levitt/LAT

Kiel has also tasked Hampson with being the link to the engineering team’s counterparts at McLaren.

“We’ve pulled him closer to the McLaren side,” he continued. “He’s that liaison person right now between their technical group and our technical group, in an effort to try to mitigate the work losses incurred by onboarding a program like that. We have cars to get ready and build sheets to produce and tracks to get to, plus, we’re trying to onboard this huge technical program on the McLaren side that, luckily, Craig’s been able to come in and provide some air cover to our group so we can focus on going racing today, but keep an eye on the future, and how we’re going to improve long term. So, the timing couldn’t have been better for his arrival, that’s for sure.

Among the many new players on pit lane for AMSP, Kiel says the processes and key players involved with calling the race on those timing stands have not been subject to change. After all the year-to-year changes, this might be one of the only areas left untouched in the Arrow SPM and McLaren Racing collaboration.

“It will remain as-is from last year,” Kiel added. “I’ll be doing strategy on the 5 car, [competition director] Billy Vincent will be on the 7, and the way we operate in our strategy roles is very much a collaborative effort. So, our smart people are giving us input, and all of that stuff is unchanged as well. Nick Snyder’s on my stand, and Chris Lawrence is on Billy’s stand. Those are the guys that operate the software and look at the trends, and do all the prep work just to be able to make quick decisions. They’re the ones that put the real work in.

“We wanted to keep those groups tight, and those groups together in an effort to make those tough decision moments seamless when you’ve got to make a call quickly. The continuity’s there. We’re happy with that, and we’re going to roll into race day the same as we were last year.”