I searched for some good Formula 1 books for me to read. A search on Goodreads and Google gave me the Ross Brawn book – Total Competition as the top suggestion. It looked very interesting. I expected the book to show me how Formula One works on the inside. And I must say that it surpassed my expectations.
A majority of the book is in the form of a discussion. Adam Parr asks a lot of meaningful questions to Ross. On the other hand, Ross tries to answer them with much detail. Though I expected this book to be just about Formula One, it goes beyond that. It’s also a book about leadership, performance, and consistency. I really loved the way Adam Parr and Ross Brawn correlate what happens in F1 to what was written thousands of years ago in the book The Art of War.
Target Audience for Total Competition
As I mentioned earlier, this book goes beyond F1. It explores the aspects of leadership and strategies. Ross especially explains how tough it was at times, and how one can navigate the troubled waters.
F1 fans will surely appreciate the stories on what happens off-track. However, to anyone interested in knowing what’s it like to run a massive team, this is a great book. So, this book is for anyone really. There is definitely a lot to learn for everyone. It does not matter that you are aware or unaware of Formula One.
Total Competition begins with a much-needed introduction to F1 terminologies. It also gives a brief introduction to people who run it. The authors have been highly aware that a reader might not know about Formula One.
We get to see how Ross Brawn has been successful in every team he’s been a part of. It shares insights on the level of discipline, hard work, and strategy required to excel. Adam Parr and Ross Brawn correlate teachings from the Art of War book to strategies in F1. However, the reader gets simple executable steps to apply the same knowledge to any field.
For the F1 fans, we have read or witnessed some of the best moments in Formula One. Many of them seemed to be impossible and Ross Brawn has been behind quite a few of them. Through Total Competition, we get to see how it was executed. We get to see Ross’ processes in play and it extremely interesting to read. It talks in depth about the various dimensions in Formula One. Dimensions such as Politics, Economics, and Technology all need to be managed for a team to succeed. Without a strong grip on even one of these pillars, surviving in F1 become very difficult.
This part of the book solely talks about strategies. They explain the strategies on race days, and also in the day to day running of the team. They share their experience in building cars and race-winning cars and how strategies play an important role.
Both authors analyze the strategies of the Art of War. Together, they dissect it to see if what they did in Formula One corresponds to the teachings. There are explanations on how sometimes winning makes the whole sport lose its charm. It raises a question, “should we stop winning for a change?” it’s refreshing to read how they navigate from these situations.
The book goes in great detail about the three pillars of F1: Politics ( managing people ), Economy ( the financial side), and Technology ( technical advancements a team can achieve). Each of these pillars needs it’s own strategy to achieve overall success. We get to read about the formulation and execution of these strategies.
We get to see the dark side of politics in Formula One and how egos of the people in charge bring havoc within the teams. This is truly one of the best Formula 1 books I’ve come across. It covers all aspects on running a billion Dollar Industry.
I wanted to list down some of the quotes from this Ross Brawn book. It’s got some great insights.
Luck is preparation waiting for an opportunity.Ross Brawn
Improvement only happens when you have systems that enable you to do it all the timeRoss Brawn
if you recognize in yourself that you are lazy, then having the structure, committing to it, and making sure it happens, is vitalRoss Brawn
Other Formula 1 Books
I really want to find another good book related to Formula 1. If you have come across any, please share it with me in the comments below.