Jonathan Knott

Former British ambassador to Hungary, Budapest

Part of UK in Hungary

23rd July 2013 Budapest, Hungary

Formula One – a recipe for business?

Guest blog by Senior UKTI Adviser Barbara Eötvös

This weekend Hungary will be host to the Formula One community, as the next race is taking place at the Hungarian circuit, Hungaroring – which has been a long standing, core part of the motor racing calendar since 1986. As I was walking around the city yesterday I could not help noticing an increasing ‘GP presence’ in Budapest, from race car exhibits to teams gathering in the morning wearing their team T-shirts, making it clear to everybody the purpose of their visit.

There is clearly a growing, expectant atmosphere of something GREAT coming up, but I am sure there is much more going on behind the scenes. And just like the teams – to whom I take my hat off as there must be so much pressure in the run up to races like these – the Emerging Europe network of the 9 British embassies in the region have all their hands on the pump so that we can successfully showcase the UK’s business excellence during the F1 weekend, as well as highlight business opportunities in Emerging Europe for UK companies. Opportunities which for the past couple of decades have been overlooked for higher profile destinations. Opportunities which have been underrated – partly if not wholly – because of outdated perception of the region.


Before I got involved in preparations for this ‘GREAT British Innovation and Technology’ event I did not quite appreciate how significant F1 was – not only for all lovers of the sport, but also for the UK economy. Having twice as many of the teams based in ‘Motorsport Valley’ as the rest of the world put together, a 100-mile crescent stretching from Surrey to East Anglia, does indicate that there are good reasons to be there: engineering excellence, technological innovation, creativity. Not to mention the 3,500 SMEs also based in the Valley creating jobs and achieving billions’ worth of global sales. So the F1 is such a great image for UK business, and there is so much business happening in and around it!

I have seen business “happen” in many shapes and forms: from “traditional” trade fairs for example at London’s Excel, through business clinics in Leeds, to one-to-one “speed-dating” meet-the-buyer type events (the most recent one in Debrecen). There is no set recipe; a one size fits all on how and where business can be done. So this time – in true British innovative spirit – we are trying something new: doing business ‘live’ from the track! Our menu includes The Mini parade, a GREAT networking reception, the GREAT bus exhibit and a series of webinars on energy, transport, infrastructure and automotive opportunities delivered from our bus parked trackside. So come and join us for these exciting programmes – whether you are a UK business who happen to be visiting and have not yet considered doing business with Emerging Europe countries, or indeed if you are a company from the region, keen to learn more about UK excellence and what products and services would suit your business – we may just have the right contacts! You will be able to find us at the track in our GREAT red double-decker bus parked just behind the gold tribunes where our colleagues with specialist knowledge will be happy to welcome you, and talk to you about business in more detail.

I am so excited to see how this new concept works – hopefully well, and will serve as appetisers to Emerging Europe and UK excellence too!

About Jonathan Knott

Jonathan Knott was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Hungary in March 2011 and arrived in Budapest in February 2012 to take up his post. He left this post on April…

Jonathan Knott was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to
Hungary in March 2011 and arrived in Budapest in February 2012 to take
up his post. He left this post on April 2015.
He has previously held a variety of diplomatic posts at home and
abroad, several with a particular focus on commercial and corporate
finance issues. Jonathan has served in a number of positions in the
British Diplomatic Service since joining in 1988:
Before his appointment was Deputy Head of Mission and Director for Trade and Investment in South Korea from 2008 to 2011.Between 2005 and 2008 he held the post of Deputy Finance Director in the FCO.From 2000 to 2005 he served as First Secretary (Trade, Corporate Affairs and Finance Negotiator) in UKDel OECD Paris.From 1996 to 2000 he was First Secretary (Head of Political/Economic/Aid Section) in Mexico.From 1995 to 1996 he worked in the FCO as Deputy European Correspondent at the EU Directorate.Between 1991 and 1995 he served as Third later Second Secretary (Political / Press and Public Affairs) in Havana.From 1990 to 1991 he was Desk Officer in the FCO’s First Gulf War Emergency Unit.Between 1988 and 1990 he worked as Desk Officer in the FCO in the Anti Drugs Cooperation Department.
Jonathan holds an MA in law from Oxford University, and he is a
member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He speaks
English, French, Spanish and Hungarian. He is married to Angela Susan
Knott and has one daughter and two sons.

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