Samir Maha, Business Director, McLaren Applied, reflects on CREST Business Awards and their achievement

Samir Maha June 2021

Samir Maha, Business Director, McLaren Applied, reflects on CREST Business Awards and their achievement

As winners what does the CREST22 Award mean to McLaren Applied?

It means a great deal! We’re fully committed to creating a more sustainable future, like everybody involved with the CREST Awards. It’s truly an honour to be recognised by this community for our pioneering work in the next generation of electric vehicles, improving connectivity on trains and reducing fuel usage in mining.

We’re proud to be headquartered in Woking and would like to thank CREST22 for bringing us closer to the local business community. It is inspiring to discover the wealth of ideas and sustainability initiatives on our doorstep. It is also a great opportunity to raise awareness of the fulfilling career opportunities we can offer budding local engineers who want to change the world.

You were interested in helping the runner up Waverley Hoppa – has that developed?

Hoppa is a fantastic local charity providing vital door-to-door transport to the community in Farnham, Godalming, Haslemere, Cranleigh and the surrounding villages in Waverley. It was a pleasure to be introduced and we’ve been discussing potential ways that we can support their work further. We’re an international company with global reach but it’s also important to us that we recognise and support sustainable initiatives in the local community.

What do you hope to gain from your consultation with CES?

We were recently awarded the highest possible 3* accreditation for our leadership in environmental management by the FIA, Formula 1’s governing body. We look forward to sitting down with the Centre for Environment and Sustainability to discuss where we go from here and how we take this forward.

We’ve always had an excellent relationship with the University of Surrey, who play a critical role in developing the graduates our industry needs to sustain and grow businesses. Our consultation with CES should enable us to broaden those ties between business and academia that are so crucial to pioneering a better future.

What advice would you have for businesses trying to lower their carbon footprint?

The number one piece of advice I can give is to put sustainability on your management agenda. Let the whole organisation know about it, force yourselves to talk about it, even if it feels awkward to start with. Establish the right forums and employees will soon start contributing ideas. You will find ways to measure progress and set aspirational targets. Tap into the personal passion people have around sustainability and you’ll soon be seeing some brilliant suggestions that you can put in place more straightforwardly than you might have thought.

Organisations should keep in mind that there are global sustainability targets set for the next 10, 30 and 50 years. In McLaren Applied’s case, that means translating innovations from motorsport into sustainable business opportunities that help meet those goals. There is a massive opportunity for the next generation of engineers to make a real difference, helped by the fact that the economic and sustainability agendas are increasingly aligned. Our engineers, working in Woking town centre, are changing the whole world for the better and that certainly adds to positive feelings in the workplace.

What would you say to people who might question your commitment in relation to your continued association with the Formula 1 racing car and motorsport group?

McLaren Applied was born out of traditional motorsport and we’re fully committed to a sustainability mindset across motor racing, automotive, public transport and beyond. We are all reliant on new innovations to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and motorsport is a phenomenal testbed.

It’s therefore no surprise that breakthroughs in materials science, engineering and data science that originated in motor series like Formula 1 are proving pivotal in the race to net zero. For example, our next-generation IPG5 inverter is going to be used in thousands of electric vehicles. We are working with the mining industry to apply data analytics from motorsport in a way that reduces fuel consumption. And we’re transforming connectivity in rail, saving significant carbon emissions. And motorsport itself is changing too – we have a longstanding involvement in Formula E, the all-electric racing series, and are seeing significant growth in our electric motorsport activities across the board. There’s plenty to look forward to!