ATTACK IS THE BEST FORM OF DEFENSE
The leader’s dilemma
mostly through our own eyes, I’ll impart my
personal views on the leader’s dilemma.
First of all, going into a season, I always
found it useful not to think I was defending
anything – be it a title, my place in the
hierarchy, or whatever. In fact, how can a title
belong to you? That never made sense to me.
The moment a race or a season starts,
everything’s up for grabs. No one believes
that just because you won something
before, the gods are on your side and all
is pre-destined. Well, at least I don’t, since
that would mean some pretty unfair gods...
The only thing you’re defending is your
ego, because going backward has a much
harder effect on it than making gains. Ego
apart, past results bear no influence on
the present. So, forget deserving it, forget
defending it – just go out there and try and
win again. Everyone starts the season with
the same number of points: a big, fat zero.
On the question of how you view your
competition, I admit there are many ways
to approach it. However, I always found that
excessive focus on your competition was a
negative. In a world of limited resources, it’s
time and energy better focused on yourself.
Nevertheless, you are in competition, so
you do need to understand the landscape,
who you’re up against, what they’re good
at, and what their weaknesses are. The trick
is in ensuring that your quest to understand
all of that won’t distract from factors that
drive your own performance. Get the
balance right and you’re onto a winner. In
a team, I’ve always advocated that these
two functions should be separate; inside a
driver’s head, however, it’s a more difficult
quest that only a few can master.
Typically, excellence comes from a
cycle of effort, analysis, redirected effort,
more analysis, ad infinitum… This iterative
way of working – at first glance anyway –
doesn’t leave room for innovation,
risk-taking, creativity, and all those things
that can really shake things up. However,
I don’t believe that’s true. For me, the best
results seem to come from the seamless
integration of solid, proven methods (the
iterative part) with boundless creativity
(the shake-it-up part) – which, by the way,
does not come on demand!
So, you want to stay in the lead. What
can I say? Be conservative? Defensive?
What got you in the lead in the first
place was the hunger, the will, the desire to
get better and better. So, once you’re out
front, stay hungry; stay curious; stay open
minded. Keep learning; keep refining; keep
developing yourself and your knowledge;
keep reinventing yourself.
In the end, there’s only one sure thing:
if you don’t do all of this, someone else
will, and then your lead is gone!
See, there’s no dilemma after all...
(RIGHT) The most
for a racer, and
for a team, too –
In the wise words
of Gil de Ferran’s
father: “How can
you know where
you’re going if
all you do is