This post is my way of paying tribute to Jules Bianchi and of contributing to the current drivers who are racing for their dreams right now. He taught us some great principles that may just help some of you raise your game.
People are saying that Jules was a champion in the making but anyone who raced against him or worked with him knows full well that he was already a true champion and he didn't need to have the most points on the F1 board to prove it.
I spent 4 years (from 2009 to 2012) working 'against' him whilst coaching his competitors and teammates who were trying to beat this guy and we failed almost every year.
In these years when he was racing F3 and GP2 none of his 6 team mates outscored him, they too are great drivers (Valterri Bottas, Esteban Gutierrez, Sam Bird, Kevin Korjus, Adrien Tambay and Daniel Abt) but they never managed to topple him over the season. I am sure that none of them will mind me saying that.
Even though he was beating your ass you had some twisted realization in the back of your mind that he was the benchmark, you knew that you were fighting against the best driver around and that was actually a good feeling.
It was plain to see in his F3 days that he would be in F1 eventually, never any doubt.
He was frustrating as heck to compete against firstly because of his relentlessness, secondly because of the way he would get the team around him and thirdly because even though he would have weaknesses and made mistakes he would never give you time to capitalize on them.
These are qualities that made him hard to beat over a season, you could beat him on a single race weekend but over the course of a year he would always get his game together and come out on top.
The 3 lessons I share with you today show some of the ways he used to achieve these things.
Bianchi’s Success Lessons
Apart from his genuine driving skill there are obviously more than three reasons for why he was so successful but these are the top ones that stood out to me and the ones that I see most drivers missing out on.
So let’s get straight to them.
Lesson 1 - Be Super Intense
Many drivers now with their nanosecond attention spans cannot get themselves to spend more than 30 minutes debriefing with their engineer before they start to lose concentration or lose the will to live.
Jules however used to out-debrief some of his engineers in terms of time spent going over things. I remember sitting opposite him in the Tech 1 World Series Renault garage as he was going through each and every lap of the previous session, he was on his own post debrief and still there when we were leaving for the hotel.
What makes this even more impressive is that he was actually P1 in that session.
Yes P friggin 1 and he was still going through points where he could improve. I had never seen that before and have never since.
He was clearly someone who not only wanted to win but someone who wanted to destroy the entire field.
This may be too intense for some people and I understand that fully because over thinking things can have a negative effect but I just share this with you because it is one simple example of how intense he was.
He was there to work and it meant so much to him that the hours used to pass by without him even realising it. That's when you know you are doing something you love.
The team always saw this in Jules and in turn they would mark him as their No.1 driver just because he put the time in and they could see how much it meant. Leading by example is a great way to win a team over, they loved him.
In doing this he used to always improve himself and rectify things that had happened, which leads me into the second lesson he taught us......
Lesson 2 - Be a Comeback King
This was a driver that would never lie down, no matter what hit he had taken. A great example of this was when he broke his back in the GP2 round at Hungary yet still managed to race at the next event.....impressive stuff.
In his rookie 2010 GP2 year he was making some mistakes driving wise and most of the people in the paddock were enjoying saying that he had lost it and he is too crazy yet even with these errors he still finished 3rd in the championship, in his first year. Any driver will tell you this is not an easy thing to do no matter what team you are with.
If he made a silly mistake or was involved in a crash that was his fault then he would often score a podium next time out, this was his way of answering his critics.
To sum up his fight back mentality just take a look at this video as he fought against Christian Vietoris at Silverstone. I was coaching Chris that day who was on fire pace-wise around Silverstone but still Jules refused to give in. Great driving by both……
Lesson 3 - Be Hard On Yourself
If he was off the pace or had made a mistake and we were to ask him what happened he seemed to always blame himself.
Yes he may be angry at someone else to begin with (if others were involved) but most of the time he would be self-critical and honest. If he was slow then he would say why and take it upon himself to do what he could to not allow it to happen again.
Obviously in racing things do happen again but he would genuinely try and prevent this as much as possible.
As explained in the blog 'Stop Bitching......' this is a quality that is seen among the successful more often than not.
If as a driver your results are rubbish then look to yourself first, if you suck then admit it and do something about it.
If you have screwed up then hold your hands up and rectify it.
If you have made a decision and it was wrong they own up to it and move forwards.
Make things your responsibility.
I saw all of these traits in Jules and again like all of us he was not perfect but these characteristics prove to be within those who are successful so if you find yourself as a driver or anyone else in this sport where you approach your craft in a part time way, or you are easily knocked back or you are too soft on yourself then just realise that these are all behaviours and strategies that will eventually cause your demise.
Thank You Jules
I want to Thank You Jules for being the driver you were and for giving us this insight into what it takes to be a true champion. Your echoes will be passed on and will help others achieve the dreams that they spend their lives pursuing. Thanks on behalf of myself and all of our readers.
NB. Photo of Jules winning at Nurburgring 2012 by Henry Mineur via Wikimedia Commons