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Nicole Bearne speaker

Nicole Bearne

Former Head of Internal Communications at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, Corporate Speaker and Trainer, 9-time World Champion

Nicole Bearne has been a key figure in Formula 1 for over 25 years, contributing to nine Constructors’ and eight Drivers’ World Championships with Brawn Grand Prix and Mercedes-AMG F1 teams. Currently the Founder and Director of The Comms Exchange Ltd, she leverages her extensive F1 experience and academic expertise to foster high-performing, people-centric organizations.

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Languages: 

  • English
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Nicole Bearne's 2024 biography

Meet Nicole Bearne

Nicole Bearne has worked at the forefront of Formula 1 for over 25 years during which time she was a leading member of the Brawn Grand Prix and Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 teams, winning a total of nine World Championship for Constructors and eight Drivers’ titles. Her experience encompasses executive and technical operations, internal communications, employee experience and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Beginning her F1 career in the late 1990s, Nicole was a founding member of the fledgling British American Racing team. Working alongside world champion Jacques Villeneuve, Team Principal Craig Pollock and Technical Director Adrian Reynard, she assisted in establishing the team from scratch in rural Northamptonshire.

As the team developed, becoming BAR-Honda and later fully owned by Honda, Nicole’s role developed further. Between 2007 and 2013, Nicole worked with and reported directly to Team Principal Ross Brawn, the man who previously masterminded Michael Schumacher’s dominant years at Ferrari.

During this time she was at the epicentre of the Brawn Grand Prix story, the team which rose from the ashes of the Honda Racing F1 team to take both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championships in 2009. The story of that season was told in the award winning 2023 film documentary Brawn: The Impossible Formula 1 Story which streamed on Disney+.

Following Mercedes-Benz’s acquisition of the team, Nicole was part of the leadership who helped secure a further eight Constructors’ championships. As Head of Internal Communications for the Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, Nicole operated at board level in an organisation totalling 1,300 people.

She directly helped nurture a strong team culture and high levels of employee engagement, translating into record-breaking performance on the racetrack, most notably with drivers Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas.

Now, as the Founder and Director of The Comms Exchange Ltd, Nicole brings a blend of extensive real-world F1 business experience and robust academic theory to building happy, high-performing, people-centric organisations.

Nicole holds a master’s degree in Organisational Behaviour, as well as the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ (CIPR) Internal Communications Diploma. She is a member of the CIPR and the Institute of Internal Communication and is an Accredited PR Practitioner. In 2020, Nicole was nominated for the Indigogold Work Psychology Innovation Award. She also speaks fluent Russian, having spent several years working in the former Soviet Union.

Nicole Bearne's 2024 talks & topics

Leadership

The requirements of Formula One’s team leaders have changed significantly in recently years as teams have become larger, more complex, and the business model to which the sport operates has been transformed. The leaders in F1 today are responsible for leading up to 1800 full time employees, creating a high-performance organisation which is fully aligned behind a strategy aimed at achieving a set of well defined, ambitious goals.

Competitive team leaders create a culture in which team personnel take responsibility and are happy to be held accountable for their performance. Developing a high degree of psychological safety is key, requiring staff to speak up and speak out, with strong cross functional communications. A relentless focus on continuous improvement is part of the F1 leaders mindset, and teams take a data-driven approach to measuring performance, highlighting issues and analysing developments. But whilst F1 is a technocentric sport, the successful leaders recognise that it is the people who make a difference. This is why so much effort is deployed to create an environment within which employees thrive, using their combined talents to problem solve and create highly innovative solutions in order to drive competitive advantage.

Teamwork/Collaboration

Competitive Formula One teams comprise 1800 staff, less than 10% of whom attend the race events, so teamwork requires complete alignment, shared purpose and close collaboration across the business. The world championship includes 24 Grands Prix and these represent a series of non-negotiable deadlines which the entire organisation has to meet in terms of car development, hardware and software upgrades. The ultimate, public example of high-performance teamwork comes in the form of the mandatory pit stops which have to be performed during a race – the record now stands at 1.8 seconds during which 22 staff carry out 36 tasks under extreme pressure.

Alignment behind the team’s strategies and ambitious goals is vital, so too having the agility to flex strategy in the face of constant changes in technology and the performance of competitors.

Health & Safety

Formula One motor racing has placed safety at the centre of its regulatory, technical and operational focus for over 25 years, but it has been the cultural shift among these high performing teams of men and women competing at the forefront of the world championship which has had the greatest impact on the sport’s safety revolution.

Given the importance of human factors and behaviours in managing risk, ensuring safety and guaranteeing positive outcomes, F1 has also broadened the scope of its safety programmes to include the health, wellbeing and psychological safety of team members, giving everyone a voice. F1 teams recognise that mental health, physical fitness and overall wellness are key to ensuring the best outcomes are achieved and sustained.

Change & Transformation

Every industry is witnessing change and Formula One is no different. One of the challenges facing F1 teams is that the sector is ever-changing – so change management and leading teams through periods of transformation is an essential part of the job. Change comes in many forms; technology, compliance, competition, customer demands, environmental and social issues. F1 has had to reinvent its business model, embrace digitalisations, adapt to a changing media and social landscape. Above all, F1’s leadership teams have had to communicate, manage and implement transformation strategies, bringing their teams with them and ensuring that they make the most from embracing change.

Data-driven performance & Innovation

More than any other sport, Formula One has embraced a data-driven business culture, particularly with its near obsession with marginal gains and continuous improvement. F1 teams use data to enable drivers, engineers and HQ staff to determine precisely how the car and driver is behaving, diagnose issues, resolve problems and speed up decision making. As information flows seamlessly around the globe, linking car, team and factory, tech security is essential and robust systems ensure protection from multiple threats.

The use of simulators has transformed driver training, enabling systems to be learned, tested and developed in a virtual environment prior to real-world deployment. And with the advent of additive manufacturing, machine learning and AI across F1, the sport’s use of technology to innovate and transform all aspects of its operations is set to accelerate further.

Nicole Bearne's 2024 speaking fees

Nicole travels from:
  • United Kingdom

Specific fees fall within the ranges shown. These are presented as a guide only and are subject to change without notice.

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Check Nicole Bearne's availability for your event

Complete the form below to check Nicole Bearne's availability. If you prefer, you can also send an email directly to our head office.

How would Nicole Bearne deliver their presentation at your event?
Please provide details of your budget for Nicole Bearne's speaking fee, including currency.