|Oliver Weingarten - General Secretary, Formula E Teams' Association|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 12 January 2015 10:53
Oliver trained as a solicitor at Olswang, and on qualification moved to the in 2004 Premier League where he spent 7 years as General Counsel specialising in commercial and intellectual property matters, and was also Secretariat of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition.
Oliver joined The Formula One Teams’ Association in August 2011 where he had responsibility for working with the Teams to shape the regulatory, commercial and governance direction of the sport.
In July 2014, OW Advisory Limited was formed by Oliver to provide clients with a boutique offering related to sports rights, lobbying and fan engagement.
In October 2014 Oliver also took on the part-time role as General Secretary of the inaugural Formula E Teams’ Association.
By Tariq Saleh
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m a qualified lawyer; I studied law and German in Scotland at Strathclyde University. I went to Manchester where I did a masters in sports law and also converted to English Law in between that.
I also had a year in Germany at Hannover university and then I qualified as a solicitor in London. I then went to the Premier League where I spent seven years, then I did three years at the Formula One teams’ association before setting up my own business this year.
How did you get your job at the Formula E association?
When you set up a new association in motorsport you look at people who have got the skillset and I had just done three years in Formula One for the F1 teams’ association FOTA so I was pretty current, people had seen the work I’d achieved in difficult circumstances.
I knew some people at Formula E and I think I came to the attention of some of the team principals competing in the Formula E championship and they approached me and we had a discussion and I decided at the end of October that it would be a really interesting proposition to be involved in and in Malaysia in November we announced it.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges that you’ll have to overcome in your first few months at the Formula E association?
Well it’s a start-up business, it’s not just a start-up business with the association, the championship’s a start-up, it only had its second race last weekend and there was a substantial gap prior to its first race in Beijing.
If you think about how long people like Alejandro Agag have been involved trying to get the championship off the ground its been a couple of years in the making and now they’ve got it up and running they’ve got to ensure that mistakes are rectified, ensure that the costs are controlled to make sure that next year when it becomes an open championship that its attractive to the manufacturers.
We need to retain the demographic, the young demographic particularly, engage in social media, we need to do a lot of things that other sports haven’t done or haven’t done so well, but the biggest challenge will be keeping these 10 teams together, of course this is the nature of any collective or any association for the benefit of the sport and making sure the trajectory upwards continues.
What expertise will you bring with you from your experience with FOTA?
I think three years in Formula One, the pinnacle of motor sport, in an association that got fragmented very quickly where I was at the cutting edge of seeing how that sport operated in discussions around cost control, commercial issues, technical sporting regulations, I think I have a lot of experience where I can tell other teams what works and more importantly what doesn’t work and hopefully can live and learn by some of the experiences in FOTA.