Saturday, 21 July 2012

Coaching in F1

Coaching for drivers seems to be an increasing trend within Formula 1.  Former Austrian F1 driver Alex Wurz has been drafted in by Williams to coach Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado. 

Wurz and Maldonado

Wurz and Senna

Williams seem to be fans of coaching, having used Olympic Gold Medallist Michael Johnson to help slash their pit stop times in order to be competitive for 2012. 

The fact that Williams have been around two seconds off the fastest pit stop time for each Grand prix so far this season would indicate that being able to achieve a fastest time in the 200m sprint clearly doesn't mean you can bring an aura of speed to everything you touch.  

Alexander Wurz's impact also has to be questioned.  Granted, Maldonado is a race winner, but look what has happened since.  No points finishes since Spain, and there have been numerous incidents causing woes for other drivers.  Following clashes with Hamilton and Perez he has earned himself a negative name around the paddock. 

Bruno Senna, while not being complained about by other drivers, has not delivered the desired results for Williams so far this season.  With just eighteen points notched up, he is having to deal with the looming figure of Valtteri Bottas snapping at his seat.  Finnish test driver Bottas, who is managed by double World Champion Mika Hakkinen, has showed his worth during Friday practice all season.  Are the performances of Maldonado and Senna really a good advocate of coaching in Formula One?

Jackie Stewart has always been a fan of coaching and mentoring for drivers, and coaching obviously works well for individuals in sport such as those playing tennis or golf.   But in Formula One, so much data and information is given to the driver in order to improve performance, it could be said that they are constantly being coached. Over the radio during a race, engineers can be heard telling the drivers what they need to be doing to gain positions. 

In a team sport like this, is a coach just superfluous to requirements?  


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