McLaren and its handling of two number ones

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Mclaren are trying to win things by having two drivers targeting the WC. They also operate a centralised data and strategy hub allowing both drivers to be collectively prepared and setup for winning races.

2 drivers after a win are directed by the same strategist with resources also allocated the same way.

It is said that Ferrari are moving to the same format, however with the Alonso/Massa partnership the centralised approach might work even better for them

What do you think about the intra team dynamic at Mclaren between MW, LH and JB, with MW representing the team? Is it the best way of going about winning WDC and WCCs, or does the lack of competition lead to sloppiness and mistakes amongst team memebers who are no longer usefully motivated to give 100% concentration?

Hopefully we can discuss any and all aspewcts of the dynamic between the team management and its star drivers LH and JB

This thread assumes no conspiracy etc just looks at aspects of the process that should facilitate the best results from two star drivers

for example; JB starts way ahead of his teammate and finally breaks his quali duck and beats LH in the history books to make it 4 - 1 and not 5 - 0, will JB be motivated by this or has McLarens little mistake with fuel cost both drivers?
I was wondering how the McLaren approach differs in real terms to the other teams, other than the layout of the garage? There has been a lot said about a centralised console, but little about the ways of working employed. As the number of team personnel allowed at race meetings is limited for all teams, I am fairly sure that the data sharing and common strategy is fairly uniform, otherwise some teams may be disadvantaged in other areas.

Also, in terms of strategy, I am not sure the McLaren methodolgy differs much from the other teams, although I have no evidence for this either way.

I believe that there is more to be said for the application of strategic planning, and the dynamicness (if such a word exists) of the application of strategy, along with the execution of said strategy and pit stops. Also, the constraint of only being able to pit one car at a time.

taking into account other things that we have no access to, e.g. driver debriefs, pre race strategy talks etc, I am not sure that the current set up would be significantly different to other teams.

It would strike me that the issues which exist are mostly down to the practical application of things, e.g. filling the car with fuel, changing wheels etc. These cannot really be laid at the door of centralised data etc, but more in the processes and lines of communication in the operational teams.

Sam Michael was brought on board to assist in this area, and initially, at least, it would seem with a negative effect. Unsure of what is actually happening behind the scenes, although I would target my inquiries in this direction (either the appointer or appointee) as an area which must be improved, I am not certain of what should actually be done, but something decisive must be done.

But to answer the question, I do not believe the current set up is the cause of the current issues within the team, nor should they really provide a specific hindrance to the drivers.
We do not know exactly how the team differs in its approach from others, however there is enough evidence to accept that all data is shared and the strategy and raceday decisions for both are made centrally and collectively.
For example most recently Brogan found this tweet from the team
A tweet just now from McLaren's official tweeter.

"Do the drivers know the others set up on the car?" Yes, all data is shared between the two. Total equality.

We also know about the reshuffling done of the team race day staff when JB arrived with LHs engineer becoming the control for both drivers, then there is the 'central console' which is no secret

We know that two competitors for the same prize do not generally share data and use strategies handed out on a pro rata basis, take 2007, so I believe that what's particularly true for this team is that there is less competition and independence between the sides and this has contributed to the obvious lack of a cutting edge

At a simplistic level it's like the difference between business in a communist country to a capitalist one, staff are not properly motivated to produce the type of ruthless attention to detail that a properly organised and rewarded competition does. Any enterprise like a kwikfit or fast food shop knows that competitions motivate staff and can raise standards

If we assume that McLaren are alone so far in having two top drivers competing in a game where there is always one optimum outcome - a win for one driver, an optimum strategy, optimum pitstop, optimum tools, optimum staff.
Without two sides competing equally and independently with strategy, tools, staff, strategy etc a situation exists where consistency and clarity of purpose suffers

Finally it's possible that strategies etc are handed out with the teams aggregate success with both drivers the focus, leading over time to disadvantage to one or other of the drivers
I've never liked the Number 1 status system and have always advocated an equal chance for both drivers It shouldn't really matter to the team which driver wins the WDC their priority is the constructors championship so I guess there is a case to be made to allow both drivers the chance at the title after all in this way both drivers a equally motivated to score as many points as possible and that can only be good for the team.

I can understand why some fans want their preferred driver to have number one status but in this case how do you motivate the number two driver to try his best if he doesn't have a cat in hells chance at a shoot at the big prize?

Personally I think McLaren have got it right on this front as I said it isn't the WDC that brings dosh to the team well it may do by sponsorship but then you have to pay him more money or he sods off to another team with deeper pockets..

In any case how do you ask one of the two world champions at McLaren to play second fiddle?
It's like football, Fergie keeps his players sharp by the threat of rotation and replacement, Arsene prefers to make the players comfortable in their places. The way the team are set up wrt staff, info, priorities etc somehow leads to constant inefficiencies
The standards are lower than normal and it's not that the staff are worse it's how they are organised, for the guys jacking the car up, probably volunteers with day jobs in the company, more involvement in the objectives is required, beyond 'doing a job' , i don't know what just saying its not good enough and possible whys

Why do you think there is this pattern at Mclaren?
Mclaren are not the only team to have two equal number 1's ...seems like some people forgot about Williams with Reutemann and Jones , then Piquet and Mansell

both times it cost them the drivers titles but they did win the constructors on both occasions 1981 and 1986
Cookinflatsix, The tweet from Whitmarsh states that all data is shared. Agreed, although, not sure what impact that has. It does not say that other teams do not do this, and the times that I am aware of that it has been explicitly stated this is not the case, circumstances have had a big part. In 2007 I believe that the data was shared up until a point, then access was removed, the only other instance I am aware of is Michael Schumacher, dating back to 1995, with Johnny Herbert, so I do not feel that this is conclusive as an exception.

The central console thing, not sure about that. I do not think that the location of a computer screen defines anything, if anything, it would make it more difficult to see the screen across the garage, needing to make a specific trip to see the data.

I have not seen anything to suggest that the team either do anything different, nor that they should. The team have generally been hampered by operational issues, rather than technical, and I am not sure that the strategic issues that have been seen, and/or perceived are related to the technical set up.
Personally I think McLaren have got it right on this front as I said it isn't the WDC that brings dosh to the team
McLaren haven't won the WCC since 1998 so I wouldn't say they're doing that well compared to their peers.
Lots of second places, but second is the first loser...
I know Brogan but like I said there is more to it than having two number ones DC was never a number one back then and it made no difference to how many WCC they won.

I don't see how you can blame their currant cock ups on the driver situation, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me..
I'm not blaming it on the driver situation.

I was just pointing out that their current strategy hasn't resulted in any Constructors' titles for 14 years.
No apology necessary Mephistopheles :)

I don't disagree with McLaren's stated policy, it obviously suits the drivers better and gives McLaren more opportunities for top talent.

With other teams for example, you wouldn't see any of the top drivers agreeing to be the number two driver to the incumbent.
So that automatically limits Ferrari and Red Bull as to who they can put in the other car.
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