With a background in mechanical engineering and with a F1 fan grandfather, uncle, father and husband, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and I, too, follow this motorized sport with great interest. Apart from the races themselves, I am also a big fan of the human part of F1, as a great part of the fun comes from following up rivalries, knowing who’s going to which team and who is just cooler to follow on social networks.
A few weeks ago, at the Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix, both record-winner Lewis Hamilton and already-F1-veteran Daniel Ricciardo were penalized over the weekend. Ricciardo was penalized with 5 seconds for an illegal track re-entry and Hamilton got 10 seconds for illegal starts during practice.
There wouldn’t be much to talk about if it wasn’t for their significantly different reactions:
Hamilton lashed out at “ridiculous penalties” and had a very hard time accepting he had done anything wrong, whereas Daniel Ricciardo instantly accepted the fault and stated to his engineer that he would run faster to compensate for the penalties.
This made me think about different types of personalities and on how to build a well balanced team.
Lewis Hamilton is now the all time best driver, having recently broken Schumaker’s records for number of races won. He is a great driver, a highly focused young man and I am sure that he would be a great contributor to any team eager to set records. But, based only on his Russian GP reaction to penalties, would you like to have him on your team if you ran a small to medium size company? (I know this is a simplistic view, as we are not looking at the penality reasons or context… I know! But imagine that, just for the exercise’s sake.)
When managing small teams, it is necessary to manage egos and to make sure that all team players are well aligned. Having a team with non-clashing personalities or at least with people that, even while challenging partners, can take up responsibilities when something goes wrong, is fundamental to avoid sinking the ship. If I was given the opportunity to choose between hiring someone that would answer like Ricciardo’s or someone who would answer like Hamilton’s, I know who I would pick. What about you?
I also know who I would want to invite for a BBQ!
Read here about Hamilton’s reaction to the penalty: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.hamilton-lashes-out-at-ridiculous-penalties-as-he-edges-closer-to-race-ban.18GooH0vzscnCcJafWKFtd.html
Read here an F1 article on how Daniel Ricciardo’s pace actually improved after the “Ok, I’ll drive faster” communication.