Before this year I had never watched a Formula 1 race. I didn’t see the appeal of watching cars go around and around the same track in circles over and over, and I just didn’t understand and appreciate the work and mastery that went into both the car itself and the driving of the car.
But then, I started to work with a Formula 1 Team. I couldn’t go in there not having seen a single race and knowing what it was really about. So I started to immerse myself, to my husband’s amazement and amusement. After all, he had been trying to get me to watch with him for years. And to my own amazement, once I started watching, I loved it – I was hooked. I wouldn’t say I’m a superfan (yet) but I definitely enjoy it. I am also finding that I learn so much, with real world applications from watching it.
I know what you’re thinking. What is there to learn from Formula 1? A big one is that things could change in a heartbeat. Drivers who respond well to change and create and take advantage of opportunities are the ones that have the greatest chance of success. You’re also only as good as the team behind you and the quality of your resources (the car). But that’s just a start! I’d like to take 2 incidents that occurred over the last few weeks as examples to show what I mean.
The first is from the Russian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both drive for Mercedes, but while they are on the same team, they are also competing against each other. That dynamic of teams and competition is one of my fav things about F1. In the Russian GP for the good of the overall team, Bottas who was winning – WINNING … was asked to let Lewis pass for the good of the overall team. That must have been frustrating, but he did it anyway. This also happens in business. There are many times in a business scenario where people have to make individual sacrifices for the good of a team. I swear I got goosebumps when Lewis brought Bottas up on the first podium with him, acknowledging that he should have won. Lessons there about reward, recognition and also humility.
The second is from the Brazilian Grand Prix where there was violence in the workplace! Things actually got physical after the race between Verstappen and Ocon, as a result of an on-track incident that lost Verstappen his win. The lessons for me here were in management’s response to the incident, and the way things were handled in the aftermath. There was a very public comment of support for the bad behaviour “Esteban was lucky to get away with just a push to be honest”. What a message that sends! How many times do we see similar things in the workplace? People who, either as a result of their talent or personalities, have full management support and seem to be able get away with anything. I was riveted for days following that story, to see what the end result would be. And to be honest, disappointed but not surprised when it was just a slap on the wrist.
For any Formula 1 fans and buffs out there – any major lessons from pivotal moments you want to share?