Strategy is a vital ingredient in sport, business or life. After all, it’s commonly believed that to the victor go the spoils. And the only way to be a victor is to be a battler; spoiling for a fight.
This season’s exciting end to the Formula One race served up some measure of on-track drama that might have given the expensive enterprise a shot in the arm.
Runaway leaders result in seasonal boredom. Two-horse races are only a bit better. It would be nice to have a really open race, like this season’s English Premier League season.
But coming back to the final day drama over the weekend in Abu Dhabi, Nico Rosberg was guaranteed the championship with a top three finish. His Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who suffered various mechanical problems and penalty points this season, needed to win and hope for Rosberg to be out of the top three to claim the championship.
It was always going to be a close call and Hamilton used his tactical nous to try and make life difficult for Rosberg by slowing down the pace and hoping the chasing pack would mix things up behind him. While his team urged him to speed up, Hamilton disregarded the team orders and tried to create his own fortune.
Hamilton won the race, but Rosberg claimed the championship, coming in second. But there’s now a lot of talk about how Hamilton resorted to “dirty tactics” in trying to prevent his team mate from lifting the big trophy.
What’s the fuss about? Isn’t that what it means to compete? It’s about strategy. When you’re up against it you do what you can to get the best possible outcome. That’s why football teams sometimes “park the bus” and throw in bodies to defend against superior opponents.
This is the fighting spirit everyone wants to see and that makes sport exciting. It’s about having that never-say-die attitude.
STORM’s recent post “Is Singapore A Sporting Nation?” reflected on whether Singapore has that fighting spirit, and discovered that any dogged determination to get to the top was on a short leash.
On many fronts, we will have to scrape and tussle to fight for a chance to make things happen in Singapore. The days of riding the technology wave and coasting on our reputation are going to be in the past.
Our neighbours are picking up the pace, hopping aboard the same wave of opportunity.
International events like Brexit and Donald Trump, taking on an insular view of market, will mean a need to move nimbly to create opportunities.
We will need that fighting spirit in large doses.
Back at F1, the race is in the pits in Malaysia, which has decided to stop its association with Bernie Ecclestone’s money-making venture after 2018. Singapore has one more race to go as well, and is still in negotiations. Perhaps it may want to pull out of the deal, too.
Since 2008, the night race has given prominence to Singapore’s evolving skyline. It’s quite mature now, and it’s done the job of putting Singapore on the map. The aim was to raise tourism figures, which worked for a while, but with global economy slowing down, has resulted in a drop in attendance.
Ecclestone may feel aggrieved that after making Singapore “more than an airport” the Republic may exit the race, switching off the lights on F1’s “crown jewel”. But that’s just business, given the amounts paid to F1 to host the race.
The government co-funds (reportedly 60%) of this estimated $150 million race, but the entire race is shielded from the public eye, unless you pay upwards of $258 for a ticket, or watch it on cable TV. It’s now part of the September calendar to either go on holiday during F1 or not bother to go in to work if the race whizzes by your office or shopping tower.
Like many things, familiarity breeds some degree of content and contempt. It might be good to find out from the people affected if this F1 crown jewel has lost its relevance and sparkle.