Flabbergasted by Formula 1

Flabbergasted by Formula 1

I’m no Formula 1 super fan – I was dragged to the Dutch Grand Prix a couple of times as a child, and my only abiding memories?

  • The cars – too loud
  • Free cigarettes being handed out in the pit lane; those were the days!

Despite my lack of fandom, I sat down to watch some GP highlights earlier this week.


My daughter is doing ‘Formula Student’ this year at university, where she’s tasked with designing and building a single-seat racing car, and she wanted to get some tips, so I tagged along on the sofa.

I was immediately blown away.

Not by the cars.  Or the graphics.  Or the colours, noise, cheers from the crowd, or anything like that.

The thing that bowled me over?

The pit stops.  Specifically, their ridiculous speed.

Back when I used to be dragged along, stuffing free cigarettes into my pockets (only joking), a 7-second pit stop was lauded.

Fast forward several years, and it’s a whole different ball game – the car comes into the pits, and is racing back out of there in…TWO seconds.

That’s two seconds to change all four tyres, and send the car on its merry way.

This, surely, is efficiency at its maximum, and there’s a universal takeaway that’s useful in a business context:

What are you doing internally that’s taking more time than it should?

We can all catch ourselves doing things in an inefficient way, and if you do too many things inefficiently, the time wasted soon adds up.

Nevertheless, we tell ourselves, “It’ll only take two seconds”, and we never fix it.

The lesson from F1 is to review your processes, highlight each stage, break down what needs to happen and understand how to optimise it.

Once your team is at the F1 pit stop level of efficiency, then you can probably stop the reviews, but anything less than that is an iterative process –  do not let yourself be derailed by the “only takes two seconds” statement!

Flabbergasted by Formula 1

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