16 October 2019

Mark Webber F1 driver and corporate speaker - teamWe’ve all heard the phrase, ‘there’s no I in team’ but does this apply when you’re alone in your car racing at speeds of over 200mph, and you’ll be the one alone on the podium when you win?

I was fortunate to chat with F1 superstar Mark Webber recently for an episode of the Mind Your Own Business podcast. During the chat, I asked if Formula One was really a team sport, when you’re all alone in the car when the red lights go out. His response? It’s very much a team sport.

He said: “There are people who put thousands of hours into building and finessing that car that week and I could wreck it in a second on the track.

“A pit stop for example, they do it now in 2 seconds and there are a huge amount of people involved. The pit stop team are super fit to be able to act so quickly. If I pull into the pit lane two inches off either side, there are 16 men who are deflated because I have just made their job so much harder.”

I hadn’t really thought about that before. Whilst the focus may be on the car and the driver, the reality is that there are hundreds of people behind the scenes who have an impact on the end result when the chequered flag is waved.

It’s all about people

Webber added: “The belief and trust starts to come into the team. That’s a fascinating thing for people in business maybe, because it is about human capital.

“It’s about people.

“It’s also the winning mentality and the culture of actually:  Am I going to work longer hours? – though it’s not even work – Am I going to be at my passion for longer?

“When we were in a groove there, it was not work. These people, the huge section of the factory, you’re talking about 700 people in one team.”

More than 700 people just to get that one car on the track ready to race!. Never mind the engineers in constant communication with the driver and rest of the team throughout the race itself.

The entire team

For me, one of the most fascinating parts of the chat was listening to how Webber and his team mate Vettel would hold events like Easter Egg Hunts for the entire team and their families. This, Webber said, ensures that everyone feels a part of it when he is on the podium spraying champagne. The husbands and wives, the parents, the children – they know what it takes to get there, they know what the late nights at work were for, and they are invested in the end result.

That is something that I strive to create at UKFast every day – a journey in which everyone feels involved. It’s the dream for any leader to have their teams feel that way.

At UKFast we’ve always believe that the people behind the technology are what’s most important. To hear that this mentality spreads beyond technology is encouraging to say the least.

Nowadays, Webber speaks in a lot of places and believes that lessons are transferrable from the top flight of anything. I couldn’t agree more. We can learn so much in both our professional and personal lives by studying those who are at the very top of their game, whatever that game is.

This was just part of the conversation with Mark Webber, who shared a fascinating insight into what it was really like working with his teammate Sebastian Vettel, the reality and risks of driving in F1 and how he coped with retirement from the sport he spent his whole life devoted to. Subscribe and listen to the Mind Your Own Business podcast now.

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