It would be a long shot, or possibly just sheer madness to place a bet on a Manor F1 car beating a Mercedes at the upcoming Italian Grand Prix. Stranger things have happened of course but it would be hard to argue that the Manor could win on pure merit.
Quite apart from the fact that Mercedes employ double world champion Lewis Hamilton and multiple Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg as opposed to Manor’s rookie pairing of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi, everyone knows that the Mercedes car is far better than the Manor. It’s not really any contest.
Surely therefore, Mercedes has to be the best team in F1 to work for and everyone in the pitlane must aspire one day to have have a contract with the three pointed star. Is it true that everyone who works for Mercedes is better than the people who work for Manor ? I would hope you realise not. Clearly talent rises to the top. The best teams will try and attract the best people with the promise of big salaries and endless resource but make no mistake, there are some extremely talented individuals working behind the scenes at the back end of the grid.
The Mercedes car is undeniably very, very good but does a team’s competitiveness really have anything relation to how enjoyable it is to work there? Just because a team is leading the championship does it follow that you will get the most reward and satisfaction from being involved ? If you are new to the sport, winning is not necessarily all you need to consider. As you learn about F1 and are developing the skills that you need to make the best of yourself, it does not necessarily follow that you should take a job at the “best” team. Is it true therefore that some teams are better to work for than others and what makes that difference ?
Over the next series of posts I’ll be taking a look at each team in turn and asking what it is like to work there, what are the good points and what are the bad. Each team has its own history, location and culture which come together to give it a unique “personality” which affects every employee and their experience of day to day life there. That personality is not always the smiling PR front that we see on television either and it is not always the winner who walks away the happiest. As we’ll see, everyone loves success but that success can be made against different measures not just winning the race. Bringing a back-marker team from the rear of the grid to the midfield and regular points scoring could be more rewarding than any Grand Prix victory.
In order to bring out the best in people, a good team spirit is essential and even some of the most successful teams could learn a thing or two from the back-markers when it comes to just enjoying the privilege of going motor racing.
If you are looking to develop your own career you might choose to benefit from a stint away from the limelight and a chance to shine at somewhere smaller and nearer the back of the grid. Your personality and your goals should match that of your team and whilst no opportunity in F1 should be ignored, it is important to know a little bit more about what happens behind the factory doors of each team and how that can affect the experience of working there.
This is not always about the technical side of things either. Location, facilities, working hours and identity all play a part in job satisfaction and each of these varies across the teams. Some teams are located close to major cities with easy access to nightlife, transport and sports amenities whereas as others are in entirely rural settings without even a small shop in walking distance.
As my regular readers will know, I have worked at several teams across the grid but not all of them. Of the teams I have worked at, I can give an honest and factual appraisal but I do of course also have ex-colleagues and acquaintances who have worked at the majority of the remaining outfits. In those cases I can assemble what I know and what I have heard in order to paint a picture of life at those teams. I hope therefore that each team is assessed fairly and allows you to find out a little bit more from behind the scenes.
The best way to find out of course will be to further your own career so that you can try these teams for yourself and make up your own mind. I sincerely hope that you will get that opportunity in the not so distant future and I wish you the best of luck.
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Sad times in motorsport
The news that another popular personality and combative racing driver has been lost this week has affected the whole of the motorsport community. Justin Wilson may not have been a household name but he had left a bright and cheery mark on just about everyone whom he had worked with.
I pass my condolences to all of his family and friends.