Mercedes F1 Team Sporting Director Ron Meadows has revealed his early misgivings about working in the sport.
Meadows and his Mercedes colleague Andrew Shovlin are the leading Liverpool-born figures at the top level of Motorsport.
He was working in the IndyCar series in the United States when he was approached by the newly-formed British American Racing team ahead of their 1999 F1 debut.
He feared that he would be little more than a ‘number’ in a wide-ranging operation.
“To be honest, I was never someone who aspired to be in Formula 1,” Meadows told the Beyond The Grid podcast.
“It was seemed like there were quite big teams involved and you were a bit more of a number.
“I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
“It’s not that you just turn up and do your little bit. You’re involved in lots of different departments and you do make a difference.
“Everybody makes a difference at Brackley, whether you’re the cleaner in the hydraulics room or whether you’re James Allison [Chief Technical Officer] making all the big technical decisions.
“Everyone can stop the car.”
Meadows recalled his first experience of the Formula 1 paddock in 2000.
He admits that he initially intended only to take-up a trackside role on an interim basis.
But he wound up an integral part of the Brackley-based outfit as it evolved into Honda, the championship-winning Brawn GP and the dominant Mercedes team.
“I am still loving it.
“My plan was to never travel. When I came back I said ‘I’ll do the factory, I’ll find myself a little corner to hide in for the next five or six years then go and do something else.
“By the third race of 2000 things hadn’t improved and they were struggling with staff.
“They asked me if I would be prepared to travel.
“It was all looking quite shaky because BAT [owners British American Tobacco] weren’t happy with the results.
“So I said ‘I’ll do three races, see how we get on until you find someone who really wants to do the job’.
“That was 20-odd years ago, and many hundreds of races ago.”
The Silver Arrows have won the last seven championships, but face a stern challenge from Red Bull Racing this season.
One point separates Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen after a win apiece in the first two rounds of the campaign.
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