F1 teams perform best with one star driver
James Moy/James Moy Photography
Many see competition as bringing out the best in people, but it turns out that F1 teams with two star drivers don't perform as well as those with one standout driver and a supporting 'wingman'.
A study by the Cass Business School, at City University, London has found that there is a drop in individual drivers' performance in teams with two stars compared to those with one poster boy and a second driver recording slightly slower times.
Cass Business School studied all of the drivers racing in Formula 1 from 1981 to 2010 and made some interesting findings.
Speaking to Business Matters Dr Paolo Aversa, who lectures in strategy at the business school and co-authored the research said: "We found that drivers who were successful in the past were more likely to perform well in the future. However, when the difference between the past performances of two team-mates decreased, so did their individual results.
"In other words, it's good to hire a top-driver, but his average performance declines when his team-mate has a similar level of prior success."
Dr Aversa explained: "This is a phenomenon that affects top managers at public and private organisations, leading scientists in R&D teams and movie stars in Hollywood.
"Organisations that attempt to establish the perfect team by hiring a portfolio of stars risk putting two roosters in the same henhouse, which evidence suggests can erode the individual performance of team members."
The reasoning for this is that two individuals who may be used to being top of the class may jostle for supremacy when working alongside each other, continues Dr Aversa.
Formula 1 teams use two tactics to deal with this; either favouring the top performing driver – cutting the chance for internal conflict – or by taking a neutral stance – which promotes competition between drivers. However, Dr Aversa says that neither of these work.
"None of the two options entail a positive outcome. The first option tends to demotivate both drivers, as the favoured driver tends to relax his rivalry, and the second loses his ambitions as he acknowledges that he will not be allowed to overtake his colleague. The intra-team rivalry of Barrichello and Schumacher at the start of the decade is a good example.
"In the second case where the team promotes internal conflict, the resulting antagonism often leads to the failing of any intra-team collaboration, and eventually triggers aggressive duels that often end with one or both cars crashing. This happened in the recent crash between Hamilton and Rosberg in Belgium."