Brawn to reveal F1 management secrets in new book

Ross Brawn is to reveal secrets of F1 politics and team management in a new book he has written in co-operation with former Williams CEO Adam Parr.

Brawn to reveal F1 management secrets in new book
Ross Brawn and Adam Parr book cover, Total Competition: Lessons in Strategy from Formula One
Ross Brawn, Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal
Ross Brawn, Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal
Ross Brawn, Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal
Ross Brawn, Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal
Adam Parr, CEO Williams
FIA press conference: Adam Parr, Williams F1 Team

Total Competition: Lessons in Strategy from Formula One is a dialogue between Parr and Brawn examining how the latter achieved his success in motor sport across several decades and teams.

In order to frame the discussion, the two looked at different approaches to strategy down the centuries, and noted the similarities between F1 and military strategy from various eras of history.

They also examined how the lessons from F1 can be applied in other areas of management.

The project was instigated by Parr, who has completed a PhD on strategy at University College London since leaving his Williams role.

He previously published a book about his time at the heart of the sport, The Art of War: Five Years in Formula One, which was presented in the style of a graphic novel.

"I approached Ross about this idea because I was struck by the way in which he worked in F1 while I was there," Parr told Motorsport.com.

"Ross was going on his sabbatical when I started at Williams at the end of 2006. By the time he reappeared a year later at Honda, I had learnt a lot about him.

"Then I watched with amazement as he worked methodically through 2008 and 2009, turning what would have been a disaster for most teams into an extraordinary success.

"I noted that the way Ross worked was instinctively strategic. We kept in touch after I left F1, and when I had finished my PhD I thought it would be fun to write a book with him on how he worked – to test his methodology in F1 against the theory and practice of strategy that I had studied."

"Adam came to me and said he often thought that a lot of the teachings and philosophies of the military strategists are similar to the approach I took in F1," Brawn told Motorsport.com.

"I have to say quite a lot of them I'd picked up, but not consciously. I hadn't read military strategy, so I didn't know the art of war, and all that sort of stuff.

"So he took me through it and we made some interesting analogies between the teachings of the Chinese philosophers and military strategists, along with the Roman strategists.

"We also looked at an approach called 'operational art' that was developed by the Soviets after the First World War and seemed particularly relevant."

Brawn says there are clear comparisons with the sport: "Building an army and succeeding in wars is a multi-faceted equation, which includes politics, finance, morale as well as the more obvious aspects like technical capability – it includes so many things. And you can actually look at F1 and say it's the same.

"The point is that success in F1 requires you to be strategic – and this is what we discussed. What we hope is that the discussion will not just appeal to F1 fans but also to people in other walks of life who have to manage complex challenges on limited resources and perhaps also in a competitive environment."

The book will be published by Simon & Schuster in November.

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