The Teamwork ChallengeOn October 16, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
I’m Norbert Michelisz, and I’m driving for the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team. I’m Tiago Monteiro, Portuguese driver. My name is Ryo Michigami. Emiliano Ventura, I’m the physiologist for the team. Duncan Laycock, I’m the technical director for Jas Honda Racing Dario d’Esposito; Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team; Team Manager. Alessandro Mariani; Team principal and CEO of Jas Motorsport. As you know, in each family, sometimes there is some small friction, or some small problems, but the secret of a good family is that finally, you sort it out. If you have a difficult situation between the drivers, it’s much better to face it immediately, not to wait because then the problems arrive to the mechanics, to the tyre man, to everybody, so you kill your team. Of course you get pissed off sometimes at that, but at the same way as when I do mistakes, I want people to tell me about it. It’s quite normal, because in the end they all like to win, they are all competing, and one gets first and the other gets second. Only one wins, and all the others will lose. “He crosses the line for his second win…” It’s always easier when things are coming your way, when you have success. Even bigger problems sometimes become less important, or easier to handle. When you see the hardest moments and when you need them the most is when things get tough, when things get complicated. When you have an accident and they need to repair the car, everybody’s tired, everybody’s in a rush, there’s no time, you need to go for qualifying… that’s when the difference will happen, if you’ve managed to keep them motivated and happy. So whenever it’s tough, take a few moments to relax with them, to joke with them, to be part of the team. I do believe that to be at the top you need to combine the different mentality, the different culture. We have all these nationalities working together, some cultural conflicts and misunderstandings happen, and just trying to eliminate that, and, I suppose the key is communication. We are working with Japanese, who are very different from Europeans, and even there I don’t say that we are better or worse, only different. And if you are clever, if you are open-minded as we hope to be, you combine what they have to teach you and you try to push them to improve their aspect and this is another challenge I like a lot because now globalization is the way to work. We are very lucky because our drivers are very nice. I say again, they are coming from different countries, but the mix of them is really nice. The atmosphere is good; they are fully involved, really motivated, and really professional as well. As a racing car driver I think you have to have some technical knowledge to be efficient in terms of communicating with you engineer, and with some technical knowledge, you can help him even more to understand the small details, and to understand how you can make the car better. The best ones are the ones that turn around and just tell you what the car is doing, and don’t try and turn around and tell you “Oh, we need to change the anti-geometry, we need to chance the roll centre, blah blah blah!” You have to create a very good family spirit between the team and the drivers, and to do and to do that you have to respect the driver, because the confidence of the driver is an essential part of the team job. The drivers at this level are very used to working as a team. They understand that if they are performing alone they are not getting there because when they help each other the level is raising up, and even inside the team, it’s important to have the connection with everyone, and everyone is going the same direction and pushing forward to get to the next level. Sometimes the easiest way to look for where you can improve is to look for what the others are doing. So for young drivers, especially, the most important thing is to look at what the others, the most successful ones did, the ones with more experience are doing well. If you show to the guys that you are fully involved and that your passion is really strong, all the people around you will be really motivated. Whether it’s the tyre man, whether it’s my front-end mechanics, my rear-end mechanics, engineers, my Physio, everybody works towards one goal, which is to win, and it’s very important to have this connection.