Business Lessons from Formula 1

Mika Hakkinen

I think most people would agree that F1 is a world of perfection when it comes to everything from design to pit stops. The gains over other cars and drivers are tiny but the money and time spent on them are enormous. However, it is not just money that wins, over the years since the early days F1 has been a hotbed of new methods in physical training, engine design, aerodynamics, computer design and even things like nutrition. This week saw 3 F1 drivers and a chap called Aki Hinsta head to the world economic forum in Davos to tell global business leaders how much of this knowledge is useful to the business world and it caused a great deal of interest.

Business and Racing

The idea that wining a race or championship is like winning in business may seem odd to some people but it makes a great deal of sense. The mental determination coupled with control, thought and skill in racing certainly apply equally to business even if the skills themselves are different. One of the key points was that racing champions do not win overnight. They can often spend years just off the pace but learning all the time, knowing that success will come. Mika Hakkinen was one of the drivers at the forum and took 7 years to win a race and then went on to win 2 world championships.

Dr Hinsta

Aki Hinsta is essentially a mentor and life coach and helped Hakkinen as well working with Vettel and Hamilton. He works on various areas of a drivers life including health and mental well being. Mika explained to the press that Hinsta helped him deal with his concerns about being away from his family as well as putting a big crash behind him so he could be a better driver. What ever he did, it clearly worked!

Business Tips

The three main tips the team put forward involved sleep, emotional control and incremental improvements. We thought we would condense these detailed topics into a few quick tips from some very successful people in our wonderful world of motor sport.

Sleep – Get more of it. Vettel gets 10 hours before every race and the team very strongly dismissed the business idea of functioning on no sleep. The bravado of sleep being for wimps was dismissed strongly and they suggested all business people do an hour less work and have an hour more sleep to see big gains.

Emotional Control  – They suggest that when things go wrong in business or racing you need to be able to control your response. Acting tough in business is pointless and over reacting is a waste. F1 drivers are not boring, though they sometimes sound it, they are just controlling their responses to maintain control.

Incremental Improvements – Rather than looking at big things they suggest people look at each small part of their lives to build overall gains. By making sure that diet, health, staff, environment and more are all working well the rest will follow.

Even if you are not in business there is a lot to learn here so if you are a racer or a business person…or both then it is worth looking into more of what was discussed.

If on the other hand you are simply after a fire extinguisher for your historic race car or track day car then get in touch and our friendly team will be happy to help.




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