There can be no team within a team.

18 April 2024, Thursday





You know you’re in trouble when teams develop within teams  






Some of the most compelling lessons in life come from the field of sport.

Sport dramatises life .It speeds up winning and losing. The successes and failures are transparent and open for all to see.

Sport being a microcosm of life.

None more so than this past weekend when Mercedes handed the podium to Red Bull in Malaysia.

It’s clear that Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have become teams within a team –  and things are starting to go wrong, but team boss Toto Wolff is having none of it.

We will not allow two teams to exist within one team. There is no Team Hamilton and no Team Rosberg. We need to develop people. If they are capable of growing, they might have another job and this is part of reshuffling which is permanently going on behind the scenes. I perfectly understand Lewis. In any sports team it can have a psychological effect depending on who you work with. But no football player would tell Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola who he’d like to play with. It’s the manager’s call to decide who is in the squad.”


While the drivers are seen by everybody as the ultimate heroes, he went on to explain the bigger game that is formula one racing.

You might be playing with somebody you like or somebody you don’t like, but it is about the squad winning. I understand that as a driver you want the perfect cocoon but it’s about how we can develop 1,500 people — not one.


Toto Wolff is now faced with the No.1 challenge of every great manager, coach, boss or CEO – to keep the Team Brand and Individual Brands aligned, fuelled and gelled.

Having dropped many of the greatest players out of his team, great managers like Sir Alex Ferguson are great – because they detect at an early stage when Individual Brands become detrimental to the future of the Team Brand.

They take action to protect the team brand, as teams within a team do not work.

After all is said and done, Toto Wolff has a German board to answer to, and it’s becoming pertinently clear that he is sending Lewis Hamilton a message.

Man up, align or move out.

No one person is bigger than the team.

The Mercedes brand counts for more. And it’s far stronger than Brand Hamilton.

Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist, Speaker, Author and Performance Coach to Business executives, Corporate teams, Sports teams and Individuals.


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