Formula One all set for its most demanding season!
The 2023 Formula 1 season is about to begin, and as the teams assemble in Bahrain ahead of the first race, there is a tangible air of excitement. 2022 is long forgotten, trophies shelved, wounds licked and a new season will bring a new order. The ten teams competing at the very pinnacle of motorsport will soon have their homework marked, in front of a global audience of millions.
One of the main challenges in motorsport is the relentless, unforgiving competition. The pressure to perform in front of stakeholders - owners, sponsors and fans - every two weeks. The flip side of this relentless schedule is that there is always a shot at redemption, the line between zero and hero, and vice-versa, is very thin indeed. A bad race doesn’t make a bad season, a perfectly executed strategy to take advantage of a chaotic race has saved the career of more than one driver, and Team Principal… there is always next week, never give up, think again, think differently.
Formula 1 has long been the poster child of high performance, a globetrotting circus that puts unique pressures on man, machine and organisation. If we look a little deeper into the approaches, behaviours and experiences of the people who excel in this unique sport, we see that behind the glamour, gloss and the mystique, there are clear parallels that can be drawn with the world of business and learnings to be taken.
It would be a mistake to assume that Formula 1 teams, and the individuals within them, excel because they are more passionate, dedicated or determined than those in other businesses. Indeed some of the most passionate and accomplished individuals we have come across are in industries far from the spotlight. Formula 1, and the individuals it has moulded, have lessons to teach because they perform under an intensity that is unlike anything else.
This means that structures must be strong, lines of command and accountability clear, roles defined and expectations clearly set. Nothing is left to chance because the difference between success and failure is a knife edge. If a one-dollar part were to fail it could take a car out of a race, so how do we put in place a process to ensure that even the cheapest part is as robust as every other component on the car? How do we ensure that the team is disciplined but empowered? How do we keep a team of a thousand people confident and motivated when the results are poor and the championship is slipping away, or to keep focus during a winning season, with ever-mounting internal and external pressures not to fail.
The men and women who have been forged by this relentlessly competitive sport are not carrying out tasks that are wildly different to any other business around the world, the difference is that they are forced to react a little faster, to perform under intense stress and to make critical decisions without the luxury of time or experimentation. In Formula 1, everything counts.
We are about to see who has done their homework.
It is no coincidence that the start of a new season has also been the target for the launch of our new Performance Insights website - old habits die hard after a career devoted to working in this compelling sport! We are pleased to bring this new platform to life to reflect the growth of Performance Insights in recent years, with the addition of multiple F1 experts, and world championship winners, both in the car and on the pit wall.