The season came to an end and now is the time to look at who was the best in every role in the last Formula 1 season. And even if the team principal of the leading teams have more spotlight time, give more interviews and read more statements, there’s many more that do a good team principal. He is the not only the mediator between the team and the public but has also to lead the team in all the troublesome situation during the season. And for that reason, in my opinion, the best team principal is without any doubt Otmar Szafnauer.

The today’s Racing Point team was in the middle of spotlights for the entire 2018 season for many different reasons, from scoring the only podium outside the big three teams, for being in administration, change of ownership. A new team was also being immediately competitive after starting from zero, having collisions between the teammates, disqualification after technical irregularity and at the end official doubts on their status expressed by other teams. And with all those problems, they managed to race in a magnificent way and in my opinion that is mostly merit of Otmar Szafnauer.

Otmar Szafnauer had to answer to many uncomfortable questions in this season, but his answers were always incredibly polite, kind and always sincere. He never entered in conflict with other but always took the defense of all of his people and his team. In my personal opinion, one of the greatest achievement of Otmar Szafnauer in 2018 was that he managed to hold all the team together in the critical summer months when the team future was very unclear. What is more, right in those months they have to develop their cars so they were able to score immediately after the change of ownership. Otmar Szafnauer not only led the team in a remarkable way, but he also convicted Lawrence Stroll and his partners to invest in the team, and that was made with actions, not with empty words. Otmar Szafnauer showed us all what is the most important value of any racing team, the team human potential, and that potential is very present in the Racing Point team.

I wish him a lot of similar good decisions in the future, but not so many critical and stressful situations as we saw in 2018. All the Racing Point team showed us what takes to be a real Formula team, brave and always fighting, even if the situation seems to be hopeless. Without big declaration in media’s, but with a lot of work and efforts that showed up in great results. Perfectly in the style of Otmar Szafnauer, no big promises, and big words, the public was informed when all was already done in a simple, kind and clear way.

In today’s Formula one the media are often used to raise pressure. Otmar Szafnauer showed us a kind of behavior from the good old times. He put always in first plan the interest of the team, of the team members, not the interest of sponsors or corporations. In today’s world that’s something, we can’t see so often. With his style, he is certainly different of other more flamboyant team principals, but he is not a man who talks a lot, he is someone that works a lot. And if we are Racing Point supporter or not, we have to admit that in the 2018 season the team made a great job under the lead of Otmar Szafnauer.

Simon Jazbec

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