It’s the British Formula 1 Grand Prix this weekend and one year after Lewis Hamilton won the driver’s championship and stormed to an amazing British GP win, he now qualifies in 19th (driving for the same team). This season’s darling, Jenson Button is disappointed at qualifying 6th after a dream start with the fairytale team Brawn.
What a difference a year makes. The shift in power has largely been down to the major rule changes, but also due to strategic team decisions not only this year, but last:
The new(ish) kid on the block that’s pushing his weight around and winning took a major gamble, almost dying all together, before re-emerging with a new name and tightened management. Willing to sacrifice the whole of the 2008 season by dumping their atrocious car to concentrate on the new 2009 model, Brawn studied the rule changes and developed the most balanced and reliable car making use of the double diffuser.
- Guts to sacrifice short-term gains for a whole season for the long-term bigger picture.
The team that has threatened the big boys the most has come through this year as a true contender helpd by the investment in youth: Sebastian Vettel. Along with the exciting and experienced Webber, it’s a solid driving team backed up by a rather good car. One that has twice the learnings and experience as most other teams … using the good old tactic of creating a sub-brand/sister team: Torro Rosso. Making sure that the younger sister Torro uses different engines etc. to quickly build up a collection of knowledge and insights on the many possible variations and configurations of parts, setup and sizes. Like Brawn they recently recruited an F1 design and engineering guy with championship pedigree of Williams and Mclaren in Adrain Newey.
- Information is power, especially in the right hands.
Mclaren and Ferrari
Majorly stuggling this season as they put so much effort into fighting for the 2008 championship. Now they are both lightyears behind this season’s top teams (although Ferrari have improved recently). But who can blame them? The carrot of the championship is all too sweet. Mclaren also learnt from 2007 when they supported both of their drivers for the championship rather than focusing on the driver in form, as a consequence, Lewis Hamilton lost the title in the last race of the season as Ferrari backed Raikonnen over Massa.
- Allocation of resources to defined objectives. Make a choice and go for it. You can’t win them all.