Mercedes using psychologists to maintain superiority

Despite taking five consecutive driver and constructor titles – the only team other than Ferrari to do so – Mercedes is taking nothing for granted as it seeks to extend that run to six.

Though motivation is not an issue, in its determination to remain the sport’s benchmark team, Mercedes is using the services of psychologists in a bid to further improve.

“I don’t think complacency was ever a factor within our team, because the group is very motivated and we set objectives together that we are passionate about,” says the Austrian.

“It is more about how can you maintain those levels of energy,” he continued. “Sometimes a level of energy can become unhealthy and that is an area that we are putting a lot of effort into in order to be able to continuously perform at these levels. As an organisation we are looking at the working environment. We are looking at nutrition, we are looking at sleep, we are looking at medical support, we are looking at sports, and we are looking at giving days off, sending people home, if we feel they are not in a good frame of mind. We are looking at psychologists, we are looking at mindfulness at the team.

“In a modern advanced organisation like a sports team that is travelling to 21 grands prix every year, you need to be aware that the humans are your key resource. It is not about the one that talks to the media and speaks to the car, or the one that sits in the car. It is the 1,800 that sit in the background and have to perform every single day and have to be better than the opposite number in the other team. We have to look after them and us.

“We are trying to really act not like a group of five-years-olds who play football where everybody runs behind the ball, we are trying to let the ball run,” he explained. “All of us within their area of expertise are trying to do a better job than their opposite number at Ferrari, or McLaren, or Williams or wherever it is. This is what I am benchmarking myself against and against my own expectation.

“Obviously you set your sights on what is happening next year: how can I improve, where do I want to be better, and that transcends into my whole life, whether it is my private life or my business life.”