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Mercedes F1 team using psychologists to ‘maintain energy’ of staff

Mercedes is turning to psychologists, well-being practices and medical support for its staff in its bid to remain at the top of Formula 1.

Although Mercedes secured a fifth consecutive double of drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2018, it faced its sternest threat during F1’s V6 turbo-hybrid era this season and is seeking further gains to stay ahead of Ferrari and Red Bull.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said sustaining motivation is not a problem, but added the team can do more to ensure all its personnel operate at the best of their potential more often.

“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,” explained Wolff.

“It is more about how can you maintain those levels of energy.

“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, at sleep, at medical support, 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, at mindfulness at the team. I could speak here for another hour and say what we are doing.”

Wolff said it is essential Mercedes does not neglect those working behind the scenes, whether they attend races or remain at base.

“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,” he said.

“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 1800 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.”

Wolff said Mercedes has benefitted from encouraging individuals to focus on one particular role within the organisation, rather than trying to do everything themselves.

“We are trying to really act not like a group of five years old who play football where everybody runs behind the ball, we are trying to let the ball run,” said Wolff.

“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.”

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