Photo credits: http://www.taringa.net/

Championship & Gratitude

It‘s known as the single-seater jet on 4 wheels! The aerodynamic down force is typically greater than the weight of the car. That means that, theoretically, at high speeds the car could drive on the upside down surface of a suitable structure; e.g. on the ceiling. Every Formula One car on the grid is capable of going from 0 to 160 km/h (100 mph) and back to 0 in less than five seconds. The car speeds up to 372 km per hour. That is over 100 meters per second. That is typically faster than a modern high speed train ever built on earth.

The drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg won 16 out of 19 races in 2014 season for their team Mercedes. The current world champion Lewis Hamilton won 11 races by himself contributing 384 points out of 701 points for his teams‘ title. It looks like the constructors‘ title came clearly from Lewis in 2014 season for Mercedes.

But what we are forgetting here is the effort, work load, dedication and commitment shown and carried out by the back office of a formula one team to make their driver a world champion. It’s a well known fact that winning a race in any series worldwide involves not only some incredible driving skills from the competitor inside the cockpit, but also the effort the team put through from the engine room to the pit stop.

The car has designed to win races and sometimes the winner is decided by a difference of micro milliseconds. Therefore from designing the car to polishing the body counts a lot in reducing the wind resistance; from rehearsing pit stop act 10,000 times to little pep talk to the driver just before the race do matter in reducing the lap timing. At this rate and this stage in F1 racing everything matters.

The constructors spend millions of dollars in the process. While all the leading constrictors such as Red Bull, Williams, Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus compete neck to neck for the title, with Lewis Hamilton’s ninth win of the season in Japan and the constructors’ championship that it secured, marked a magnificent achievement by Mercedes.

On the other hand Pit stops are one of the tensest and exciting features of a Grand Prix auto race. In fact, auto races are frequently won and lost because of the pit stops and pit crews. In just a few seconds a huge number of actions are carried out by a 20 member Formula One pit crew.

The team has less than three seconds to get everything right and set their driver back on the track. The car has to be elevated using jacks, 4 used tyres should be removed and new set has to be fixed on all 4 wheels, the fuel tank must be filled full, the drivers helmet wiser should be cleaned, the jacks should be removed and let the car go with precise timing as planned. All these in 3 seconds; just the amount of time you spend on reading this very sentence.

One may see as Lewis Hamilton won the Formula One driver‘s championship 2014 by driving passed the checked flag at Abu Dhabi all by himself. He is a celebrity and a hero to many F1 fans. But how many of us know the names like Wolff Toto (Team boss/Director), Niki Lauda (Non executive Chairman), Paddy Lowe (Executive Director), Ross Brown (Chief Engineer) and the crew of Hamilton‘s side of the garage who have done a massive amount of work behind the scene for the success of their driver..? That is why it is important for newly crowned world champion to speak a word or two about them too.

After winning his world championship title Hamilton said: ―We’ve got 70-odd people down there and their job is incredibly difficult under normal circumstances. It’s arduous work. We have all it needs; great pit crew, two great drivers and these are the ingredients to be there on the top. Those guys are a world-class bunch of people.‖ (He didn‘t say anything about him..did he..?).

“I’m so proud to have contributed to the work of this great team, to get the first constructors’ championship is a huge achievement,” said Hamilton, 29. “The car has been a dream and I could have only dreamt of a day like this.” Hamilton added: “There is an incredible synergy within the team and there is huge support from everyone right through from board level, they are real racers. Everyone really wants to win and this car and this engine are just mind-blowing.” (still not a single word on his contribution..)

“Well done to every single member of the team in the UK and Germany for this world championship.” He went on to say ―I want to thank you, the fans, for all your support this year. It’s been amazing. I really appreciate the effort by Nico (his team mate who was the biggest competitor for Lewis in the season) and I like to think that we win and lose together.‖(What a wonderful signing off. credit was given to everyone including his rivals except to himself. a true team player..)

In business we have a word for it — Gratitude. It‘s often the secret sauce that separates the highest achievers from the mass of people who are perfectly capable, but not exceptional. If doctors could prescribe gratitude, we‘d all want it.

The good news is that each of us has the potential to live a perfect life on and off the job, if we choose to. It may be difficult to do, sometimes even unfathomable, but that just makes it all the more powerful and important. You just have to have the courage to understand the effort that your team members put through in your success and to genuinely appreciate it.

It won‘t get any easier in the future, either. In a disruptive and competitive world, the rate of failure is going up, not down. For example, when you track the makeup of the Fortune 100 over time, you find that the number of companies falling off the list has gone up at an increasing rate. Who thought team Red Bull will fall behind at this pace when they won four consecutive titles from 2010 to 2013?

And with the fortunes of companies, so go many of our careers. Many of us already expect to change jobs many times over our careers, but you may not find a job that itself supports you in performing to your potential. That‘s why there‘s no substitute for constant gratitude and team work — the former to ensure you will always have something to offer to others and the latter to keep you in the team that values your company.

Failures, setbacks and falling behind by few seconds on the racing track in front of millions of people are no longer unusual events, but regular features of a dynamic, competitive and highly demanding work environment. That is why It is not only important to believe that there is a highly capable team who can get you right back on the track to finish your job, but make them hear that you truly believe in them and their capability.

As Hamilton continued on to say, “I can’t come along here and say: ‘OK, guys, today we have to stick together and work harder’. They do that anyway. What they want to see is that we are carrying out things as a team in a way that engenders their respect.  And if people respect the organization they work for and the organization in return appreciates the effort that teams put through, then everything else follows.”

I know what Hamilton must have felt like when he crossed the finish line at Abu Dhabi. Because the day I got my CC, I think felt like the same. And my pit crew was DFCC Toastmasters. Tomorrow I want to be in that pit crew and see another champion is crowned.

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