We Need to Talk About the Formula 1 Ice Berg

I've always loved speed in different forms and I find racing go-carts, bicycles, sprinting and anything else fast very enjoyable. 

Until recently, every time I saw a formula one race car or driver I had an emotional connection to the driver and the experience of driving an F1 car. They were skilled; mistakes can lead to their deaths.

Because of their human appearance and being the outward face of an F1 stable, I thought the driver was the most important part of the whole enterprise. When the driver gets a podium placement (first, second or third in the race) I always celebrated the driver for an excellent race through the screen.

Don't celebrate the driver

I've come to realize that is completely wrong. F1 is like an iceberg - the driver and the outside of the car is the top of the iceberg. Just to see an F1 car go from start to finish is almost a miracle; it is so common for cars to break or crash that from the start 1950 to 2016 only six races in the history of the sport finished with the same amount of cars that started.

The creation of the engine, the design of the car, and making it all work together before the driver puts his feet inside the car requires a small army. As a reference Mercedes F1 has 980 employees; the driver doesn't even amount to a percentage of the effort that goes into a successful race.

Iceberg blindness

When I see an F1 car blasting away on a Sunday evening - I'm now seeing something else. I see millions of hours that have gone into making the machine and the business around it.

That brings me to the point I wanted to cover today: we suffer from this iceberg blindness both in our perceptions of others and in our perception of ourselves.

When we celebrate someone, we are most likely celebrating the wrong person. We see the person presenting the visible work, but all the other work needed to succeed is slightly hidden. Just like in F1, you can see the car. But you don't think about it that way because it isn't human and isn't very relatable. You have to make an effort to think about it.

To whom is credit due?

What I want to highlight with this post is to remind all of us that when we congratulate someone, give it an effort to realize who was there to make it happen, no matter if their work is visible or not.

And remember that this happens easily when you are noticing yourself succeeding - you are only the last part of the equation, just like the F1 driver.

For this reason, I want to take the time to thank my wife Andrea Basilier for supporting me in all my business endeavors - without her most of what I'm able to produce would be impossible while being a father of two.

Do you have someone that you might have forgotten to thank? Send them a message! It takes you five seconds to write and will warm their heart for a week :)

Note 1: F1 drivers are usually very good at talking about what they were able to do with the machine provided for them, and will praise the tech team and others because they are very much aware that they are just the last (but critical) piece to make the enterprise succeed.

Note 2: This principle is also applicable for something else most of us consume - movies. The actors are just as important as the F1 drivers, but they carry out only a tiny percentage of the work. 

Note 3: if you want to get into F1, I sincerely recommend the series "Drive to Survive" on Netflix. 

I started by just skipping to the race scenes first, and as I got into it I started enjoying the in-betweens as well.

The more dramatically filmed and condensed presentation of races is much more to my taste than watching a full 50+ lap race.

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