why the ego is the manager’s worst enemy in Formula 1

If there’s one thing I’ll be forever grateful to my law school professor, Emilio Suñé, it’s that he got me into reading. Peter F. Drucker, the great guru of business management. The postulates of the Austrian professor are still fully valid today, despite the fact that many of them were pronounced more than half a century ago. Drucker is a well of wisdom to help interpret the behavior of business leaders and We often find in his books the keys to the mistakes and successes of the main managers of Formula 1.

See, for example, how this quote from Drucker could remind us of Luca de Meo and the mistakes he made in managing the Alpine team of pilots: “An effective manager builds a project with his own strengths, those of his subordinates and the circumstances.” The CEO of the Renault group, owner of the Formula 1 team, he only took into account his own ideas, he ignored the general vision of the film and worst of all, he did not succeed based on listening to Fernando Alonso nor to Oscar Piastri.

The grotesque caused by the surprise announcement of Fernando’s departure and Piastri’s denial of Alpine’s statement, announcing him as a team rider for 2023, indicates a resounding mismanagement by De Meo. Because make no mistake about it, in Alpine it reigns and Laurent Rossi and Ottmar Szafnauer are simple chains of command.

A huge contrast in management

Peter Drucker has consistently maintained that leadership stems from a commitment to serve the business rather than oneself, emphasizing how fatal the ego can be in the management of a manager. This brings us to the stark contrast of how Lawrence Stroll handled the “Vettel crisis” at Aston Martin by controlling his ego while letting his subordinates handle the situation. Unlike De Meo, who is the top manager of his company, Stroll owns Aston Martin, which might be even more tempting for you to get into “farmhouse syndrome” and show your ego., but it didn’t happen that way. There have been many occasions to publicly reprimand a temperamental employee how was sebastian vettelbut always kept a cautious silence.

Fernando Alonso with Sebastian Vettel. (EFE/Ali Haider)

It is obvious that all the activism of the four-time German champion, who directly attacked his company, his country and his main sponsor, did not have to do To stroll Mr. not a bit of grace, but he was smart enough to also realize that Vettel’s speech is very popular these days. An outburst or public rebuke to Vettel could have had devastating image effects and generated a major reputational crisis for Aston Martin. The Canadian mogul holstered it, swallowed his pride and hatched a plan to give Vettel the most honorable exit possiblethe future will be assured with Fernando Alonso and the Saudi sheikhs were convinced to make their multi-million dollar investment. Think of the good of the company and not of him.

Continuing the teachings of Drucker, another of his most famous quotes revolved around the fact that the best way to predict events is to create them and that what is important in communication is not so much what is said, but what is not said. Lawrence Stroll did not wait for events, because he started negotiating with Fernando Alonso a long time ago, which was a clear sign that they weren’t counting on Vettel going forward. On the contrary, Luca de Meo did not express a clear intention to continue with Fernando Alonso, but his message was full of ambiguity and a certain disdain for the Spanish pilot, as happened in Barcelona, ​​during the home Grand Prix.

The mistake of underestimating Fernando

A negotiation can take any course, but when you don’t explicitly publicly support a double world champion driver, but instead put him on the scales alongside a candidate like Piastri, you shouldn’t be surprised later your star driver to go somewhere else where they feel more valued. A particularly relevant circumstance in the complex personality of Fernando. For the Asturian, beyond the problems of money and even sport, feeling loved and committed to him is absolutely essential. He signed De Meo two years ago to a star driver for 20 million euros and she didn’t even bother to understand his psychology and see where she could get the most out of him. book bug.

Fernando Alonso at the Hungarian Grand Prix. (EFE/Zoltan Balogh)

“A business leader does not have to enter into the personality of an employee. The job is a specific contract that requires a specific performance… The task is not to change his personality, but to allow a person to be at his best himself,” explained Drucker. Sebastian Vettel’s performance at Aston Martin fell short of expectations, but Lawrence Stroll respected his personality and thanks to that he had solid (performance) arguments for not renewing it. One can believe the official message which Vettel voluntarily retiredbut it’s It’s obvious when you announce Fernando a day later that it was all linked and well linked for a long time.

Luca de Meo probably played a trick on him by being someone who loves motor racing and that led him to believe he knew it all, but Peter Drucker always pointed out that the secret to good leadership was to admit that some workers might know more about certain topics than their own superiors and colleagues. De Meo may know quite a bit about how Formula 1 works, but it’s clear he’s been oblivious to the small details.which are always the key.

The domain (or not) of the ego

The arrogance of thinking Fernando had nowhere to go but Alpine made him believe he was in absolute possession of the handle of the bargaining pan. On a different level, three-quarters of the same was happening with the situation of Oscar Piastrito whom he said indirectly at every moment who was the joker or the team’s plan B. Mark Webber, the Australian driver’s manager, was also unlikely to feel comfortable with such advantageous use of his client’s illusions and, while De Meo was doing his business in his Boulogne-Billancourt office, Webber scoured the paddock looking for the best opportunity for Piastri (almost certainly McLaren).

The role of Alpine, which suddenly found itself without its star driver and probably also without its promising candidate, looks so much like a Berlanga film that it may end up costing team boss Ottmar Szafnauer or brand boss Laurent Rossi his job. But we are facing a resounding fiasco for Luca de Meo, whose ego has played a terrible trick on him. This is something absolutely common in Formula 1, because the great historical mistakes of brands like Toyota or BMW, or brilliant people like Ron Dennis or Luca de Montezemolo, have almost always stemmed from a poorly controlled ego. Lawrence Stroll, mastering his own, gave a lesson in “management” that would undoubtedly receive full approval from Master Drucker.

If there’s one thing I’ll be forever grateful to my law school professor, Emilio Suñé, it’s that he got me into reading. Peter F. Drucker, the great guru of business management. The postulates of the Austrian professor are still fully valid today, despite the fact that many of them were pronounced more than half a century ago. Drucker is a well of wisdom to help interpret the behavior of business leaders and We often find in his books the keys to the mistakes and successes of the main managers of Formula 1.

Theodore Davis

"Entrepreneur. Amateur gamer. Zombie advocate. Infuriatingly humble communicator. Proud reader."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.