EP 004 / 31.04.2021
THROUGH THE YEARS
Peter Windsor: 0:06
I never imagined that I'd be so lucky to have basically a different job every year in my life and to see Formula One from a different perspective. And that's basically what's happened. Some of them have been not so good and difficult. Some of them have been amazing. In terms of commitment in terms of focus, obviously, being raised and testing manager Williams was like being in the army, you know, it was like being a platoon sergeant, and up early every morning last to leave the track, constantly thinking about damage limitation, and trying to anticipate, obviously, things that would go wrong more than rather than how to make things go, right. So that was really stressful. It was just a very, very focused time of my life, which I really enjoyed in retrospect, partly because we're very successful and won a lot of races and won the championship. So I feel that was great, obviously I learned a lot in that time. And if I can learn something every day, hopefully, I can put it to good use.
Farah Nanji: 1:09
You're listening to the mission makers show, a podcast that inspires humans to get into the mindset of success. My name is Farah Nanji. And I'm the founder of a business in the Motorsports industry that explores leadership lessons from things like Formula One. I'm also a DJ and music producer in the underground electronic themed, and a public speaker on key topics like resilience, building high performance teams, overcoming learning difficulties, and stimulating creativity. And to tie it all together, I love writing thought provoking content as a journalist for these industries, which is so unique in themselves. On this show, I'm sitting down with some of the most inspiring and driven people I've met around the world to talk about their processes, their failures, the lessons they've learned and how they're truly making an impact on this world.
Hi, guys, and welcome back to Episode Four of the mission makers podcast. Today, we're joined by one of Formula One's most prized journalists Peter Windsor. Peters had a fascinating career in the sport not only as an award winning journalist, but also as a team manager for Williams and the general manager for Ferrari in the 90s. He's worked with some of the most notable figures in the sport from Frank Williams to Nigel Mansell, and in today's episode, we discuss the evolution of the sport, the lessons he's learned and his predictions for the 2021 season. If you're as excited as I am about the return of Formula One, then this should be a very interesting episode to shed light on the inner workings of the sport. and type in Peter Windsor mission makers to see the show. And if you're interested in some really cool rewards like DJ lessons, signed books, and life coaching with me and my teams, head over to WWE patreon.com, forward slash mission makers to check out how you can access these exclusive rewards. Peter, thank you so much for joining us today on mission makers. We're so excited to have you in the show. Our guests have so much to learn from you, you had a fascinating career in motorsport. So I'd really like to just, you know, take it all the way back to the beginning and go back to when you were a young boy in Australia, where it all began, how did you discover this passion for major sport and decide that you know, you want to professionally enter this sport?
Peter Windsor: 3:25
Thank you very much. It's a very good question. I suppose I could, I could mention a million things. But I don't want to because we don't have all that time. I think there were probably three elements in that one was the invention of scale extra, which was just totally instrumental in the way I understood motor racing. For the first time I understood there were these things called racing cars that went round racetracks and drivers could basically put them wherever they liked and Scalextric was just a brilliant thing. And I remember my god mom gave me a figure eight scale extra except for my 10th birthday. And from then on, I was fascinated by motor racing. And then I was very lucky in Australia, because in Sydney, where I grew up, we had a circuit called work farm, which was based actually on a tree run by a wonderful guy called Jeff Sykes who used to work in England for the British automobile Racing Club. And they sent him out to Australia to do a sort of copy of injury as a better circuit than he actually was but it was a copy in the sense that it was intermingled with a horse race track and had to cross the horse race track. So that was all quite difficult. And he had to lay down sort of blocks and pave every time there was a motor race. Anyway, the work farm was just an amazing circuit and we had the Tasman series and we had Formula One drivers coming out every year. And we had beautiful motor racing in between. And that was really the catalyst for everything for me because in school holidays from the age of about 13, I started to just go straight to the Automobile Club, the Australian automobile Racing Club in Sydney and just work there with the Three other people were married john and Jeff, posting letters, writing envelopes, cleaning cars, getting sandwiches from the shop, just being a part of the motor racing world. And simultaneously reading obviously, as much as I could, because there's nothing on television at the time, and trying to improve as a writer and learn how to write. And then I think Jim Clark had a big effect on me. He published a book in 1960, while early 64, I guess called Jim Clark at the wheel. And that was the first motor racing book I ever bought. And I remember reading it from cover to cover almost immediately. So it improved my English learning if you like, but it also was just a wonderful book about this amazing racing driver and the life he led and that was just the end for me in terms of there was nothing else in the world I wanted to do but that so it all started there. And I was very lucky to see Jim Clark race several times in Australia. And I don't think many many people even in Europe could get as close to the Formula One drivers as we could in Australia and and the sun was shining and they had their shirts off and they you know, it was on the grass at work farm and there were beers in the evenings it was just the most amazing time.
Farah Nanji: 6:14
Fantastic. So when you decided to move to the UK and pursue this on a deeper level, did you have a hard time convincing your parents to let you move over across the side of this pond?
Peter Windsor: 6:27
My dad was completely understanding and my dad I have to say in support of what I was doing, actually befriended Jeff Sykes and they had flying in common. They did a lot of flying of light aircraft together and just a very small single engine out of Bankstown where Jim Clark learned to fly actually. And they became very good friends Jeff and my dad and my dad, also then officiated at work farm race meetings as well as a start line judge and work farm in those days was cloth cap tie sports jacket was very good word, you know. And it was so my dad was just completely part of that. My mom was a lot stricter and wanted me to go to uni, I got a, I got a place so I think it was New South Wales uni to study out whatever that was going to be. But then simultaneously, I did come to England when I was 1918, I was 18 or 19, just to see if I got a job in motor racing. And, and I talked myself into a couple of the big press conferences that were taking place. It was the winter of 71. And I just tried to ingratiate myself, I remember going to the motoring news offices and just knocking on the door and wanting to meet my heroes, Mike dutson, and Andrew Marriott. And they were incredibly nice. I remember having lunch with him actually that day. And David Phipps was another incredibly helpful guy. I met him at the Ford motorsport press conference. I was only in England for two weeks, but I met him there. And I introduced myself as a young guy that wanted to work in motorsport rights in motorsport. I'd already done quite a lot with Australia magazines. And I got back into Australia. And then I got a letter from David Phipps, just saying, if you really want a job in motorsport, I can offer you one ghostwriting for me, I've got too many magazines I'm writing for, I need a bit of help. I can't pay a fortune. But if you want to get the next flight to South Africa, I can meet you there. We can cover the Grand Prix together for auto sport, and then we'll go to England. And he paid me 100 pounds a month, which was 1200 a year, obviously. And I rented a bed sitter in Bromley for 1750 a month, bought a 250 bike motorbike from Chris craft that I'd read about in motor racing magazine. And I was on my way.
Farah Nanji: 8:42
Wow, that's amazing. How did you feel? I mean, did you feel like you were risking everything to make that move? Or was it?
Peter Windsor: 8:48
I was in tears when I was in tears when I had to say goodbye to my mom and dad, obviously. But it was for me there was just no other choice. I mean, I've met Jim Clark briefly, in the back end of 60, the back end world, the beginning of 68, after the back end of the Tasman series, he is flying out. And I had a coffee with Jim at the airport. That sounds incredible. But I did and my dad was with me. It's just the two of the three of us Next, you know, as a fourth member, a very attractive airline attendant that Jim was befriending. There were four of us having coffee and at one point I said to Jim, after I'd asked him why he wore a dark blue peek on his helmet and the 64 Dutch Grand Prix in the 66 Mexican Grand Prix. I asked him how I really wanted to work in motor racing, and how would I do that? And could I did he think I could make it was a stupid question. Really? I mean, how would he know? But he said to me, don't ever give up. You have the passion. Don't ever give up. If you really want something badly enough. Just keep your head down focused and work as hard as you can. And I've always kind of kept that mantra and I've always thought of Jimmy, I've always thought of Jim I think of Jim Clark every day of my life. No question about that. I think about that meeting and Everything that he was as a race driver and everything he meant to me as a person as well as a human being and a lady's life. So that kept me going. And that's what enabled me to leave Australia to come to England to that weird bedsitter in Bromley, and start, you know, sink or swim in this big world of European motor racing. I loved it.
Farah Nanji: 10:19
Fantastic. So do you instil that same mantra in your son, I know you've got a young boy.
Peter Windsor: 10:26
Well, it's a good point. He's got this. I don't know if it's, if it's from me or whatever. But he does have this thing where when he discovers something, he just focuses on it. 100%. And golf is a very good example. He just loves golf. And he's not really interested in any other sports, but golf and. And so yeah, I do, I think I always think that it's better to do something absolutely flat out 100% to the best of your ability than it is to do lots of different things and have lots of different interests, which is kind of what my mum always wanted to encourage. But I was always 100% focused on what I want to do, and not to the exclusion of everything else, but almost to the exclusion because if you're going to do it, you might as well do it the best you can possibly be another, funnily enough, another athlete that always made a big impression on me was Jimmy Connors, the tennis player. And I don't know if this is true or not. But I remember reading about Jimmy Connors that although there was no animosity that he felt to the other players, whenever he was, we went to a tournament, he tried to make sure he stayed in a hotel away from all the other players are the key players that he was likely to meet. Because he didn't want to have any interaction with him. He just wanted to focus completely on his own game and his own life. And I kind of get that. And I think I'm probably guilty, probably of, of not being as social and as perhaps supportive to friends as I could have been over the years because I similarly had that approach to journalism. When I did start to find my feet. And I was going regularly to Grand Prix writing for lots of different magazines, I kind of wanted to be in my own world. And if I saw the bulk of the British journalists over at the elf, motorhome with Ian young, having lunch, I would go to talk to the Italians or the French, I would go somewhere else. And it was just, I don't know, I've always had that feeling of wanting to do my own thing my own way, I guess. And sometimes it's led me down the wrong path, for sure. But it is something that has enabled me to keep my love of motor racing for one of a better word to keep it as pure and as, and as honest as it can be, as I can be to it if you like, and I don't really want to lose any of the things that captivated me. When I was a kid, I wanted those still to be burning inside me. And I think that there's so much information out there now. And there are so many people expressing opinions on media platforms, that if you did go into that, or if I went into that my brains not big enough to be able to handle all that, I need to keep things very simple and basic, I need to think about what I love about motorsport, who I respect in motorsport, what drivers, I think are doing a great job and focus on that. And that's kind of what's kept me going all these years. I think there's another thing that's grown inside me over the last 20 years perhaps. And that's hopefully because I've grown a little bit as a human being. And that is that. Basically, if you can do it is the following mantra. If you don't have something positive to say about somebody or constructive, don't say anything. In other words, don't just go in for harmful criticism, because you didn't think that was an appropriate thing to do. You don't like that person. Don't say don't go there only to be positive and constructive. constructive, obviously does mean critical sometimes. But you've got to be able to show how things could be better, or perhaps how you would have done it in that situation. So that kind of came into the way I tried to do my job today.
Farah Nanji: 13:55
That's very interesting. Because Yeah, I mean, you've obviously got a very successful YouTube channel that does critique the sport. And I think you managed quite a nice balance of, you know, as you said, not not being negative, which is great. And talking about what you mentioned there about, you know, sort of keeping it very unfiltered. Do you think, could the current drivers kind of do that as well? Do they stay in separate hotels? Do they completely try and stay away from as much of a kind of, you know, outside opinion and external forces? Is it possible?
Peter Windsor: 14:27
Well, they have been because they've been forced to in the last year, of course, because in their bubbles, and I think it's quite interesting, isn't it because probably, if you were to talk to some of the drivers in a meaningful way, they would probably say they've actually grown quite a lot in not having to not being allowed to sort of mix and do all the stuff that they would normally do and to be able to to be focused and staying in one room and eating with the same engineers every night has given them a different outlook on racing and driving and how to manage their careers, I suspect that is the case, whether it's an improvement or not, because another matter but I think in general, it's, it's just all that noise out there, there's just so much stuff isn't there, you know, and it's just at one level if you go to a Grand Prix as a journalist, and you've got your media pass and you're in the Media Centre and the first thing that comes up is that all the teams put up the times at which they're going to make their drivers available for interviews on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday and everybody's out there with their cameras photographing all that they're all putting together timetables and when they're going to rush from one motorhome to the to the other. And I just think that's completely pointless because it's not real stuff. It's you know, it's a very time restricted click Beatty, little window of life, it's not really discovering what a driver is all about. And I, I stay away from all of that stuff, because I just don't, I just don't think there's anything to be gained by it. And I don't think that all that rushing around is very good for one's understanding of what is actually going on. And that may sound like a sort of an old fuddy duddy saying that but you know, I grew up alongside journalists learning from journalists like Denis Jenkinson, who's for sure, one of the greatest motivating journalists of all time, Bernard K, lots of very, very good and six jabby kronberg. Gerrard, flocka, Eric, but lots of very good journalists, and all of them built in times for reflection, and pause and try to understand what's going on. And we live in this vortex of activity now. And it's, it's very difficult, it's difficult for people with brains like mine.
Farah Nanji: 16:43
So how would you? How would you change the current media approach to f1 in a live environment, then knowing that you need to still kind of, you know, allow the audience into analysis and things like that?
Peter Windsor: 16:56
Well, it's a very, very good question. Because Recently, there have been a lot of surveys put out by the teams to the journalists saying, what do you think about media service? What do you think of this? What do you think of that? How could we improve it? And you know, what my conclusion is that, as I as I, probably many others, but certainly, as I predicted several years ago, the future of Formula One is for each of the teams effectively to have its own TV channel and its own media empire. And the top teams, of course, do that really well now, and we're going to see that with Aston Martin as well, for sure. And, you know, everything is so polarised. Now that Formula One fans per se, I think, quite a few on the ground, I think there are lots of McLaren fans, lots of Mercedes fans, lots of Ferrari fans, and all those people go to those team websites and all media platforms to get their information. And so it's a very good question to ask, I think is what is the role, therefore, of the objectives of supposedly objective media, which is not associated with any of those teams, because it's very difficult now, actually, if you're not in a team, to have access to the drivers, to the engineers to what's going on, and the teams of course, let as little information out as they can, but as much as they possibly want to, just to get the audience. And, and since the rest of the media then has to pick up the fragments of what's left and tries to make the best of it and get some sort of picture. And if you look at the declining sales of all the big motoring magazines, obviously, there's not a big market out there anymore. For people wanting that objective view, you could argue that maybe that's picking up now with the YouTube channels and the websites of those effectively, those magazines where the magazines used to be. But of course, that's free. So it's not, it's not a direct comparison. In the old days, not the old days, but not so long ago, somebody would pay whatever it was two pounds 50 for orders bought and one pound 50 for motoring news every week. And that was it. That was your information. Now, that doesn't happen. Now you go, if you're a Mercedes, Lewis, Hamilton fan, you go to the Mercedes website, you get the Mercedes, YouTube channel, Mercedes, Twitter, Facebook, whatever, Instagram, and then you put your picture together, and you've got your information. So I suppose this is a very long winded way of saying, I don't really know what the answer is. What would we want in a perfect world? I think, I think putting aside the media, I think what the fans need much more and what they're not getting is lots and lots of great content between the Grand Prix, and that that also includes maybe the evenings building up for the Grand Prix, when the teams are debriefing or at the hotel, I think we should see a lot more of that have a lot more access to that moment. And then obviously, after the last Grand Prix the season and before the new season starts, there should be much more of it around but the teams just sort of basically go into hibernation. That's where, you know, I think Formula One misses a massive trick. I've said many times in various columns f1 Racing and on my site that if I was running world motorsport, for one of a better word, I would ensure that all the top teams have their top drivers doing world tours, between the two seasons promoting Formula One in key countries, countries where we're not getting great audiences, like China is a very good example. You know, everybody wants to make money out of China. But at the same time, nobody's watching Formula One in China. How do you solve the problem, you build up the sport, obviously, you need to have an infrastructure to build up young Chinese drivers as well. But you know, if Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen and Sharla, Klerk went to Shanghai, we're not talking the COVID era, obviously, just normal circumstances, went to Shanghai for two week Blitz tour of Shanghai doing lots of events, carting big charity auctions, all sorts of stuff, you know, wouldn't hurt wood, it wouldn't hurt, but better do that. So I think that's one area where we really need to pick it up. That stuff that follows the period between the seasons, speaking purely Personally, I obviously I think, being able to chat to drivers when they're relaxed, and they're not, and they haven't got 25 microphones in front of them, is that is something we don't have anymore. And I know, I used to be able to, whether it be out in Santa Jackie Stewart, or Jim Clark, obviously. But in more recent times, even Michael, you could chat to them when they weren't, you know, performing in front of mics. And you could you could just say, oh, Michael, by the way, I heard you miss a gear. What happened? And he'd say, Oh, yeah, okay, sure that did you and there'll be a bit of a chat. But you can't even do that now. And, and I think that is very sad. Really, you know that that doesn't exist, you can't really talk to the mechanics either. You know, I used to know the names of every mechanic in the pit lane and every team, their background, we always club together, if one of them is in problems, you know, we don't know any of them anymore, because teams think you're not supposed to go near them. And it's just pathetic.
Farah Nanji: 22:07
Really? Wow, that's, that's really interesting. Going back to what you're saying there. I mean, if a driver had to make time for like, a two week, you know, tour around the country to do these things, do you think? Do you think that would maybe annoy a driver if at all they want to do his race? Or do you think they have to kind of accept as part of the territory and then leading on to that, do you think then that having 22 races is too much to be able to then fit in, you know, some of these kinds of commitments?
Peter Windsor: 22:35
I think it would really annoy the drivers to have to do it. But I don't think that's important at all, I think they need to realise that their careers are relatively short, the sport needs to maximise them as much as they need to maximise their careers. And it's for the good of Formula One, it should be written into the Concorde Agreement that that's what they do, there shouldn't have been any discussion about it. And so, you know, drivers are employees of the company, like any other employee of the company, and they should get on with it, obviously, because none of them have done anything that will be very precious about it, and wouldn't want to do it. But, you know, that's it. As I say, if I was running, that's one of the things I would do, I think, to your other point, sorry, what was the other point? Do you think the current number of races is 23? I don't think it is no, I think, you know, we used to do a lot of testing, we used to get a kalami. And I think Goodyear used to pay $100, a lap, a test lap or something ridiculous or 50 bucks. And so to Dunlop. We did three weeks of testing at kalami. And then we went racing. And then we did more testing and then we went racing. So in terms of the number of laps a driver does in the year in Formula One, it's probably working out about the same if you do 23 races. And I think, you know, logistically and organisation wise, it's a doable thing. And it will and it will be doable. It'll happen. But the only thing I would say is that I think we started to test the waters in 2020 with having the same place back to back races Austria, Silverstone, Bahrain, and I think they worked really well. Or they weren't disasters Anyway, let's put it that way. The second race was not a disaster. And because there were a lot of people who would say, Oh, no, every Grand Prix has to be unique and has to be in its own country. So I think that showed that that argument doesn't stand up. And I think that and i i said long before the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled, but at the point where it looked as if it was going to be I suggested in a video but the future for getting around the COVID situation is to do I said three or four races at one venue actually and then move on to another venue because that would be so good from a protocol from a COVID protocol point of view. And also from a point of view, when obviously there are going to be problems with income earning it would keep the cost down because it would reduce travel. And thirdly there would be a massive reduction in the carbon footprint which is not a bad thing at any stage. COVID are not and so we went we touched we put our foot in the water with but it's interesting to see that in 21 there are no same place back to back races at all on the calendar and of course the reason for that is because it's very expensive to put on that second race because one thing's for sure the race promoter is not going to pay for it because he's already put all his money into his first race so it's going to have to be liberty that underwrites it and liberty did that in 2020 just so that we get a championship but they're not going to do again and that's a problem and so we're going into this era of cost capping we're going into this era of trying to get to zero carbon but we're actually expanding our global footprint massively and increasing our carbon footprint massively so you know that is that is something that it's a huge typical formula one irony if that's the right word and i think one of the solutions is to start rethinking that and having more races in one place in order to cut down if nothing else just to cut down the carbon footprint
Farah Nanji: 25:58
Definitely is the catch 22 isn't it moving on you've definitely worn a lot of hats in formula one is there a role that stood out above from the others in terms of its level of commitment and difficulty
Peter Windsor: 26:13
Yeah you're right i mean i've had a lot of different hats i'm wearing the buco hat right now any because jim clark used to wear buco helmets i've never seen the buca logo anywhere logo anyone thanks to johnny williams for this yeah i've been very lucky that going back to that jim clark discussion i had when we the four of us sitting there i never imagined that i'd be so lucky to have basically a different job every year in my life and to see formula one from a different perspective and that's basically what's happened some of them have been not so good and difficult some of them have been amazing in terms of commitment in terms of focus obviously being raised and testing manager williams was like being in the army you know it was like being a platoon sergeant and up early every morning last to leave the track constantly thinking about damage limitation and trying to anticipate obviously things that would go wrong more than rather than how to make things go right so that was a really it wasn't stressful it was just very very focused time of my life which i really enjoyed in retrospect partly because we were very successful and won a lot of races and won the championship so i feel that was a great obviously i learned a lot in that time and if i can learn something every day it hopefully i can put it to good use
Farah Nanji: 27:36
100% and you obviously work very closely with frank for a number of years what's one of the key things that you learned from him about effective management and strong leadership
Peter Windsor: 27:48
Well frank was of the jim clark jimmy connors most total focus so that enhanced everything that i was thinking anyway so frank was that on steroids really he was totally committed to running and to formula one and nothing else was of interest to him at all to the point where you know he used to get pretty scratchy if he had to spend sunday afternoons having sunday lunch with the family i was just like you know i got to get out of here i gotta get back to the office and get on the phone do something so you know that was that was frank i suppose that taught me that that is a little bit over the top i think with frank also one of the first things he said to me and i started working for frank initially on the sponsorship side marketing side he said your one thing i would never i never want you to do peter which i've never done i'd never ever poached a sponsor from another team never even approached them let alone tried to get them and i don't want you to do the same either and this was the time when quite a lot of sponsors were walking out the door ron dennis and mclaren so you know that i always respected frank for that and it was the same with personnel he said you know i don't i don't poach personnel from other teams and the third third thing frank said was never begin a sentence with the word but and i never have ever since i don't think i have tried not to anyway
Farah Nanji: 29:04
So interesting so talking about that what do you think will be some of the keys to returning williams to its former glory days
Peter Windsor: 29:12
Well obviously it's all about people you know you can you can do a great job in formula one on a very very small shoestring budget by which i mean the bare minimum that you need in order just to go racing and to have a certain number of people around the car and in the design office and the engineering and the machine shop but it is about people you can have all the money in the world the wrong people and you can fail completely as ba approved and you can have a very small tight shop as far as india approved and still do a great job in recent times and i think williams do have money it appears they have money to spend which is good but i think they also seem to be implying good people are getting good people i mean jasika peter seems to be a really good guy and my feeling is that They will become closer and closer to the Mercedes factory team. I think the new owners see that the future of Williams is going to be closely allied to Mercedes. And obviously if Toto Wolff thinks this is a guy that should be at Williams, maybe he was instrumental in the jasika Pizza appointment. I don't know. But if toto thinks this is a good thing for Williams to do, then I'm sure Williams will just jump to it and do it. And their key, obviously, is to have George Russell. And when they when George is elevated to the factory team, then they'll know they would like to be the next Mercedes young driver team. I would guess, you know, then the next one might no, it'll be maybe, maybe Frederick Vesti will be, you know, that'll be his way into Formula One. So I think that's where Williams is going. I think that's a pretty good thing. You know, I always felt it was a shame that Frank didn't sell the BMW when BMW offering him a lot of money to buy the team 100% when they were racing, the BMW engines and I felt that was the right time to Frank to have Franc to have sold but he was still have the he still felt. It's my team. I don't want to be the guy and I remember he was quite derisory for Peter Salba when Salba sold out to BMW, and I remember him using the phrase, and Peter wanted to do something. And he said something like, well, Peter, you had no compunction about cashing in when it suited you don't come to us now for this or that. And I remember thinking, wow, that's, you know, I hadn't heard Frank speak like that for quite a while. And that just summed up Frank's approach to wanting to keep his private and ownership of the team. But now, of course, things have changed health, ill health has stepped in. And they've been several years of mismanagement of Williams anyway. So it was time to sell, and I think they're doing a pretty good clinical job.
Farah Nanji: 31:46
It's hard to know when to walk away sometimes, isn't it? You alluded to it, sorry, earlier about, you know, one of the main things in that time was really thinking about the dangers and the risks and the failure. And obviously, the sport is so unique in the fact that failure is absolutely critical. Because if you're not pushing yourself to the limit, and figuring out what, where's where that limit is, you won't succeed. So what's been one of your biggest learnings from failure in this environment?
Peter Windsor: 32:15
Well, a lesson from failure is what you read in all the books, every time you fail, you're actually learning something. So it is a step forward. And you have to be very strong with that. And I think that applies not only to failure, but to all the all the bad things that can happen to us in life, you have to try to see, you can't you don't see it as a positive, but you have to see it as a step in your own life and try to use it as a way of being a stronger, better human being. I think that's the first point in terms of real practicalities, if I think I mean, I've had three attempts to do Formula One teams of my own, and all three have failed. But I cannot. But I can look myself in the mirror and say that, if I had drawn up a list of all the things that I could have predicted might go wrong with each of those three projects. The thing that actually happened, I would never ever have dropped off because it was so way out of left field, but it was something I don't think anybody could have predicted. And then I and then I rationalised that by saying, and I guess that means that Formula One is just one huge ocean liner. And there's a captain of that ocean liner. And if he doesn't want you on the ship, you just get thrown overboard. And I think that's still the case today. Really, I mean, Formula One is a private club. And I suppose it's that, you know, the recognition of the private club played by the rules, and so on. Often I don't play by the rules, because for either for ethical reasons, or for reasons of thinking that I can do it better, probably mistakenly, but I think it's that, you know, I've come up against Bernie Ecclestone several times. And although he's given me a lot of work over the years, and I've worked for Formula One for a long time, and hopefully will in the future. You know, he's a very difficult guy in a number of ways. And I suppose I've failed in not being able to predict how he was going to react to various situations, when I thought smugly that I probably was able to predict him, but I wasn't. And I guess that's one area where I have to say I failed.
Farah Nanji: 34:28
Very interesting. Well, thank you so much for sharing that with us. Hopefully, the club is getting less private with you know, with the changing ownership, and maybe a bit more accessible. Hey, you, we hope you're enjoying today's episode. We're on a serious mission here to create one of the world's best podcast series, and we'd be so grateful if you could support us in any way by becoming a patron of the show. There's a tear to every level from early bird tears where you get downloads to all my music with some super cool ninja stickers, to our VIP mission maker tears where you get epic rewards. it's like exclusive footage that never gets aired the chance to submit questions to our guests with signed copies of books from them dj lessons one to one coaching and a whole load of super cool ninja measure maker merchandise you can start supporting us for less than what it costs you to fill up your car for a month by simply heading over to wwe.patreon.com forward slash mission makers thanks for listening and i hope you enjoy the rest of the show talking about when you were a manager at williams and you had to manage legendary drivers obviously such as carlos and nigel mansell both of whom have been at the helm of some of the fiercest rivalry with other drivers in the sport and in that situation what does a manager you what strategies can the manager use to calm down the politics or is there an acceptance within the team that you know there's no turning back the relationships have really soured and it's either going to be a very slow or fast burn for the team for the driver
Peter Windsor: 35:55
wow that's a really interesting question i think by the time nigel was in formula one and having conflict with his teammates first kicky roseburg and then nelson piquet or carlos was it brabham not really comfortable with carlos part che and then at williams with alan jones by the time those situations had had occurred i was kind of i'd had nothing to do with generating them of course and so i was friends close friends and kind of managing both of them and my my approach to it was always to try to get them to focus on their their side of the garage as mike weber would say and not to let it get to them but of course they were both intelligent very competitive people who above all wanted to beat their teammates so it was never easy it was always a difficult time it was very difficult i mean if you talk to nigel now about his relationship with kiki roseburg he'd probably say our cake he was brilliant we got on really well he's a lovely guy i learned a lot from him i think he would say that i don't know i don't want to put words in his mouth but i can tell you the reality was there was massive aggravation between those two did not from nigel side really but i think keki understandably got very rattled by how quick nigel was and what williams we're not doing about that and the same obviously with nelson nelson it was slightly more cut and dried because he'd signed as the number one driver but not knowing frank other than the sort of mary walker esque picture of frank williams his wonderful amazing team owner he didn't go into the fine print of his contract and actually say to frank what is number one mean and he let patrick had put a few phrases in along the lines of if there's one part of from the factory which is performance improvement we'll go to you nelson the spare car will always be set up for you if there's a hunger engine which has a few more horsepower than the other on the dyno you will get that engine so that was enough for nelson to say are great that's all i need i'm going to be number one but of course what nelson never did was say to frank otter patrick about what happens if nigel mansell is ahead of me on the racetrack does he get told to let me pass because it never occurred to him that that would happen and of course it never occurred to frank either really and so when it did happen that's when you know it all went wrong and that's when all the aggravation started so if i was running a team today i would always go for the harmonious relationship with the best possible number one driver i could get and then i'd have a very comfortable driver in the other car a bit like max verstappen sergio perez now or max verstappen alex alba and you got to say if you've got max verstappen you can basically put anybody in the car except louis or charlotte clerk i would suggest and equally for the those other two as well mercedez got a great great setup with louis and valerie but if they put george russell in there it would definitely unsettle louis and you wouldn't therefore be getting the best from louis and you could say oh well that's louis's problem he's got to get out and beat george but from mercedes point of view you want the best from louis so there's no point in creating that you know that friction and sharla will be okay with with carlos science i think although i think carlos is obviously is really quick over one lap and he can sort of come he can detune that a little bit and then reproduce that over race distance but on top of that carlos is very good pr wise and he's got a lot of charisma and he looked great in red overalls and you can see him being a ferrari star that they will love and i think that will possibly get to shell although charles a very strong person in his own right so it may not i don't think it will but it might you know that's something to think about
Farah Nanji: 39:53
the seasons gonna be very interesting isn't it
Peter Windsor: 39:55
well yeah and i think another combo sorry rattle on but another combo to think about is going to be daniel ricardo lando norris because i think the conventional wisdom is that daniel is the megastar and he's going there and you know lando will be a little bit behind him and it'll be a great team but i can tell you now i don't think lando is gonna get blown away and i think when that starts to happen when lando is showing maybe he's out qualifying daniel a little bit maybe he's ahead of him in the race i think that's when you know there could be some you don't get friction with daniel ricardo because he's such a good guy but you know that's when you won't perhaps then get the best from daniel ricardo
Farah Nanji: 40:32
Talking about two more relationships what do you think the sebastian vettel and a lot of strong relationships going to be like and also nikita and schumacher
Peter Windsor: 40:43
I think lance stroll has got the best possible teammate in the other car because he needs the confidence of knowing that he's capable of winning grand prix and maybe even a world championship but he's got to have that himself even if nobody else thinks that he is no point of embracing unless he thinks that way and he isn't slow you know he actually is quite a quick racing driver now he's developed a lot over the last two to three years and every time he's within half a second or he's actually quicker than sebastian vettel four times world champion that makes lance look great and it'll be amazing for his confidence and i think that'll happen cuz i don't think sebastian is as quick as he used to be and i think lance is getting quicker and i don't think there's anything to lose from lance strolls point of view it's it's the teammate made in heaven because it's one thing to qualify sergio perez but to qualify for times world champion that's a huge thing and that's why they've done that i think and then from sebastian's point of view it's you know he's just going there with a pure self belief of four times world champion grand prix winner million times over give me a good car and i can beat the world that's how he's thinking and he's thinking i'll have a good car i'll have mercedes engines and i've got all the money from the strolls and everything will be great british team they know what they're doing no politics all the things he'll be saying to himself but none of those will actually be very helpful the day that the first and last straw actually qualifies him and that will happen in my prediction not a lot but i think it will happen i don't think i don't think sebastian will not qualify every race and then what was the other one yeah i think in the kingdom as a pin obviously is very rough around the edges and we know he's had a lot of aggravation over the last couple of months over stupid stupid stuff he's been doing on social media i mean just as i said if i was running world motorsport i'd get the top three drivers to do a world tour and all the countries that don't want to go to i would i would say to race drivers if i was managing them forget about social media focus on your career you know get a life and i think the key one makitas problems i think i'm only guessing here is that i know his girlfriend or i don't know if he's still with her but his girlfriend has a massive social media following and so he's he's sort of growing up in that world of social media and i guess he's just trying to think of how can i get more hits and likes or whatever it is and get a life the key to forget about it turn off all the media and just be a racing driver because he is actually a pretty fast aggressive racing driver who needs he's got a lot of rough edges in terms of track craft but he's very aggressive and i think that's that's quite refreshing to see and i hope that's what happens i hope has or his management disciplined enough to say just you know don't talk to anybody get in the race car work hard and do what you have to do make sure america got a lot of time to make sure macker i think he's i think he's definitely better than people think as a racing as a pure physical racing driver i think he's really good he's got some lovely round edges to his style a little bit like easter had i think he and i think he's just got the most amazing strength of character and i can't speak more highly about how important that is i think charlotte clark same thing everything he went through with his dad and other other things in his life in his personal life and i think the way mick is this shining beacon of you know of the shoemaker name is just wonderful and i think he'll go really well i don't know how well he has i don't know how good a job has will do and getting a lot out of two rookies like this you know i'd rather see mc in the second mercedes or maybe a williams or a slightly more user friendly team perhaps i don't know i mean we'll see this the first time has been in this position they strike me as being a relatively cold sort of team where you know everything happens correctly but ultimately get in the car and drive it but i may be wrong there i mean it's so difficult to know really how the teams are without you know being able to walk in the garage and chat to them for three hours which we're not allowed to do
Farah Nanji: 45:02
Definitely and there's obviously been a lot of crisis that formula one has faced you know along along the last few decades do you think COVID-19 was one of the worst and do you think that the sport can survive if the crisis goes on for much longer obviously they've handled it really really well they've set you know they really showed an example of how a sport can operate under the circumstances but from a financial
Peter Windsor: 45:25
yeah well i think i suppose you could say we're lucky that the COVID crisis has occurred in the in the liberty era because can't be many owners of huge sporting franchises with pockets as deep as liberty media and they were digging deep into them to keep the championship alive in 2020 obviously they're hoping they don't have to do that again but i suspect if they have to they will in 21 so i think we all have to take our hats off to them for doing that and making that championship happened last year and hopefully it'll be an easier time for all in 21 once the vaccine gets properly underway i think that it's you know formula one has had many crises over the years and over the years they've reacted incredibly well to everything that's gone on around it and formula one is about people just as engineering is really about people and i can honestly say that i cannot walk down a formula one pit lane today on the basis that i can talk to a few people and not have a couple of conversations without walking away and saying wow that guy's brilliant i wish i had his brain or i learned a lot from that conversation it's just full of amazingly sharp people and i think if you look at the way formula one reacted to the COVID crisis almost without thought really of just a reflex action and what do we do to make things happen i think that was a case study for the rest of the world actually to follow and i don't understand why for example the british government i mentioned that because we're in the uk at the moment i don't understand why the british government didn't say i have the brains to say let's just see how formula one are handling this and we'll kind of do the same thing oh they're making marks mass compulsory for everybody from day one will do the same oh they're doing social distancing even on the starting grid when people aren't that close anyway because there aren't that many people on the grid this in 2020 will do the same why didn't they just copy all the formula one things formula one's concepts from day one and apply that to the running of the country and we know now that if the uk prime minister had said mass will be mandatory from march the first 2020 and social distancing mandatory march the first 2020 i would think we'd be in a better shape now and obviously you need a lot of research going into the vaccine but then again i'm amazed that formula one was only used for production of masks and a few other things and perhaps logistics and distribution the industry got and got behind everything that was going on in the country really well but i'm surprised that more formula one brains weren't tapped into when it came to the formulation of vaccines because some of these guys are so bright that they could very quickly have applied their knowledge to what was going on at oxford university i think it's i think i think the world at large is mr trick by not watching what formula one has been doing and what great formula one people have been doing during the COVID crisis and just to give you one example of the way formula one people think when ronnie peterson sadly lost his life on the monday early monday morning after the italian grand prix in 1978 it was due to a fatty embolism developing in one of his veins due to ronnie having been over an ether toast the night before and he had so much anaesthetic in his body too much that his body couldn't react to the embolism very sad he effectively died of a broken leg lotus didn't do the next race which was canada the next race sorry that they did the next race which was canada right well they missed one i think run with him or maybe they didn't okay next race they went to was the canadian grand prix when jumpier jerry drove the drove ronnie's car the lotus 79 and i remember talking to sid watkins not long before he died about a meeting he had with colin chapman in the lobby of the hotel in canada the first time chapman had seen said since ronnie's passing and chapman and as sid tells the story chapman said so what happened what caused that how could that have happened you know we all thought that he was going to be okay sid explained what had happened with the embolism in the blood vessel all the rest of it and that was it then they went their separate ways sit then said said to me the next day colin came up to him and said look I've done a sketch here of a high thing, this could be prevented in the future, you need to get this, this, this and this. This is what needs to be done for blood vessel harbour. And he drew a sketch and said, looked at it and thought, Yeah, right, you know. But here's the punchline. Three years later, the Lancet published a solution to the problem that had caused Ronnie's death. And it was identical to the one that Colin Chapman had given him three years before. Wow, What does that tell you? What does that tell you about? About the world at large, not tapping enough, I think into Formula One in times of crisis.
Farah Nanji: 50:35
Yeah, that's very interesting. Very interesting points to note. If you were Stefan, you're coming into the sport now, with his newly appointed role as president and CEO, what would be some of the first things that you would do?
Peter Windsor: 50:50
I'd say, Peter Windsor must be given complete access to all the teams and drivers to ask whatever questions he wants when he wants, and then we'll get on with the rest of business. No, I did, I would, I would think one of the things that one of the things that I think Bernie is guilty of, has been guilty of was guilty of his, his dumbing down the heritage of the sport. And he did that for one very good reason. We want everyone to focus on what the show is right now. And we want to get as many TV viewers following Formula One, right now, we're not interested in having Dan Gurney come to a race or Sterling mass or any of these people. Let's focus on the heroes. Now the teams now this is Formula One as it is today. And that's kind of where we are today. And I noticed that on my YouTube channel, you know, I can do a piece about Max Verstappen if he is still capable of winning the World Championship, because he's spending too many years not winning or something like that. And, and I'll probably get, you know, quite a lot of views. But then the next day, I'll discover a wonderful little bit of footage of Jack problems driving in the 61, German Grand Prix when he had the climax v eight engine for the first time. And I'll get permission to use it. And I'll put it out. And I'll do a little thing before and I'll get 1500 views. People don't care about the history of the sport in general. And, and that's really sad, I think, because we've got so much great heritage. So one of the things, if I was Stefano that I would do, I would say, right, you know, we're going to get Formula One as a complete entity, as it began as it is today. And as it will be in the future, and we're going to maximise every element of it, not just now, and not just tomorrow, but everything, we got so much heritage, let's use it. So that's one thing I would do. Another would be, as I said, I would try to make sure that we free up access to the teams to get rid of this security thing that they all have. Because if Formula One is going to retain its own DNA, and be the only type of motorsport in the world in which you have to design and build your own car in order to enter the championship, if we're going to keep that because it's good for Formula One, to be able to say that every car is unique, and it's the pinnacle of technology. If we're going to say that, then we gotta make that technology more readily available to the fans, because at the moment they don't understand and all the cars look the same. So what's the point of having it so that all has to be opened up? I think that's another thing I would do in such a way that secrets are not being given away. But good people are in there getting information out that really means something. And then thirdly, I would plug those gaps between the end of one championship and the beginning of the next and what goes on when they get out of their cars. After qualifying. I want to see the debriefs. I want to see the drivers briefings. I want to see all that on really good live reality TV. And I want cameras. I want GoPro cameras in the road cars when they're driving back to the hotels, and I want to make that a mega show and put it out every Wednesday on one of the big networks in every country in the world. That's how I would kind of look at it, I think,
Farah Nanji: 54:01
and talking about YouTube and the changing digital landscape with journalism and reporting. Obviously, you've been you know, you've read the whole wave. And you've really embraced the digital age as well. Do you enjoy this format of YouTube? Do you have any tips for people who are looking to grow their own YouTube channels? Or do you think that it's given you a lot more freedom to cover? You know, what you want to talk about? Really?
Peter Windsor: 54:23
Yeah, I think YouTube is an absolutely brilliant thing. And I say that because it effectively allows us to have our own TV channels, whether you're a Formula One team or an individual like me, we can have our own TV channel. And we can basically use that how we want and I think that makes YouTube very different from other social platforms and I don't think YouTube should be included or bracketed with the Twitter's the Facebook's the Instagrams because it's completely different thing except it's a TV station in effect, which requires a certain amount of production and editing. Proper content. So I think YouTube alone is a great thing. And it's really, you know, to me, it's just a wonderful thing, because for many, many years, as I've kind of been saying already, I always felt that the BBC and the ITV in the UK, but when they had the Formula One rights really missed an opportunity by not putting on a really good midweek chat show, around Formula One live hopefully, in which you got the key Formula One people to come in and have a spirited discussion about something. And that never happened. or, indeed, you were filming them, you know, wherever they were in the world at that point. But there was nothing made of Formula One between the races. And that, to me is always as interesting as the races themselves, it's the people. And YouTube does kind of allow you to do that kind of. And so I think it's a great thing. I mean, the interesting thing is how YouTube has evolved, because I remembered almost as if it was yesterday, the day that Matt Bishop, very good friend of mine rang to say a muscle I don't know when it was probably 20 years ago, maybe you are saying, Peter, you got to have a look at this thing called YouTube. It's amazing, because you can look at footage from Grandpa, the 76, British Grand Prix, or the 63, German Grand Prix stuff that we'd never been able to see. It's on YouTube, all the stuff that we're showing on TV, it's on YouTube, it's amazing. And so for many years, YouTube, in my mind was always this amazing facility that allowed us to look at great footage that we'd never had access to before the Beatles in 65, or whatever it was singing, she loves you, you know, you we could we could never see that. But that was on YouTube. And that's, for me, YouTube was that was the main purpose of YouTube and kind of still is. But the interesting thing is how it's evolved into this whole new genre of young filmmakers directors, producing this new slick type of video, which is almost in style is almost unique. Now to YouTube. It's not a cinematic style, it's not a television style, it's a YouTube style. And it's developed this sort of creativity, that becomes something that's quite intoxicating, actually, I don't, I don't enjoy all of it. And I don't personally feel comfortable with all the clickbait you know, short video punchy lines, punchy titles, that are there purely to generate numbers of hits and subscribers, because then you're going down the road of we're not doing this for the right reason we're doing it for some financial gain or something like that. But if you're doing YouTube for because you really want to show that this young driver has enormous potential. And this is why this event from the past was very significant because it influenced What happened then. Or you're giving a commentary about what's happened in Formula One that day, hopefully, objectively to bring to life some of the events that might have just been, you know, passing otherwise unsaid, then I think YouTube is a really good thing. That's how I approach it. To be honest, you know, I don't have a brain that's capable of giving me a look at a subject and looking at anything other than a relatively straight, pure way. And I would never say and I know some people put a really difficult or catchy title to a YouTube video just to get people to click on it, even though the video has nothing to do with the title. You know, hopefully, I mean, I don't think that's a good thing. And maybe that needs to be looked at by YouTube.
Farah Nanji: 58:33
Yeah, definitely, definitely. When visiting your website, we're greeted with the following quote, on your homepage, that chance doesn't exist. And there's always a cause and reason for everything to talk to me about, you know, the origins of that quote, and how it's gone on to inform your own sort of personal philosophies. Yeah.
Peter Windsor: 58:53
That was interesting. When Trump walked out of the White House, he said, I wish the new administration a lot of luck on what he didn't say, because they're going to need him just to have a lot of luck. I remember thinking, I wonder if he really understands what luck is because luck is a word we use, and we've created as human beings, basically, to describe events that are either good or bad, it can be bad luck, without really and what it does is it basically shorthand for not thinking through why something has happened. And for everything, there is a reason. Sounds like a bit of a cliche, but I believe in causality, obviously, I believe in causality. And I think that if we don't believe that there is a cause and reason for everything, it's very difficult on a daily basis to grow as human beings. And if we just said, Oh, well, it's just luck. It's a bit like saying, Oh, it's just fate. You know, what does that mean? Where does that mean in terms of our sense of direction, as on the basis that we on this planet earth to grow as human beings hopefully to grow in the right direction and become better people how does writing something off as luck help in any way it doesn't and so you know whether it's whether it's a genetic thing that you can trace back or whether it's an one event that led to another event or one poor decision here led to a poor decision there which was corrected here but not corrected there there's always that's a beneficial thing to know why things happened can only be beneficial and that's what formula one has taught me you know whatever happens let's learn from it and we learn from it by knowing by trying to understand why it happened accidents engine failures car faders whatever it is you've got to understand what's going on and i think that that that maxim on my website is basically saying everything in life we can learn from and there is a cause and a reason for everything if you look deeply enough and it's difficult these days to talk about the god inside us or god that we may or may not believe in but i think if each of us looks in the mirror and looks deep inside us we'll all find our own what for one of a better word god
Farah Nanji: 1:01:13
100% yeah i really do believe in energy and and those things and last couple of questions for me if you could impart any advice for the future generations looking to get into similar career path what would you what kinds of advice would you give well
Peter Windsor: 1:01:32
I can only I had a lovely chap contacted me not too long ago he's a physio actually based in the wilds of canada saskatchewan who really wants to be a formula one physio and he said you know peter you know how does how the system works how can i do that and all i could say to him was look you know you've got to take every day as it comes easy to say that but that is the reality of life and start at the motivating level at which is out there for something that's achievable and doable from your point of view whether it's a local club race whatever it is get in there and start showing your wares and things will grow from there in ways that you can't predict and i think that that applies to everything doesn't it you know when we have an insurmountable problem the only way really to tackle it is to take it little piece by little piece and then seeing how the picture then begins to grow and how we can then perhaps do more and i think that's the same for journalism i think you know if you're a young would be journalist it's important obviously to to work as hard as you can on the language language in which you're writing let's assume it's english very important to have a full and proper grasp of grammar not to split independent clauses with commas as you often see in headlines in the daily telegraph these days or on huge billboards who makes just appalling i think the grammar of some of the british newspapers now kind of sit here the american newspapers in general have a much higher standard of of grammar than the british interestingly so having a very good grasp of grammar and here i'd put in a big plug for a book called the elements of style by strunk and white which is still for me the bedrock of the english language thanks to mel nichols of car magazine and later a market for that reference and that's been that was a great book for me to read i think it's very important obviously i would say that the learn to touch type but obviously kids these days grow up on keyboards anyway so that's no longer an issue and then i think you've got to know your subject you know i don't think there's any point in wanting to be a motor racing journalist and and perhaps trying to get a press pass and go to brands hatch and look at the round of the british touring car championship unless you also know how many world championships alberto scary one and who led the opening lap of the 64 belgian grand prix you've got to know your sport in order to make any sort of qualitative judgement of anything you're watching regardless of the category of racing and that's a really difficult thing today because most younger journalists i think like most people in the world had so much access to information that they just funnel it down to british touring cars what's going on here and it's all there in front of them but then that has the undesirable effect of of not allowing them to see the broad picture and i think having a full understanding of motor sport is really really important because only then can you can you make proper judgments and judgments i say judgments observations is perhaps a better word meaningful observations and then i think start small and grow from there you know whether it's writing about your local i used to write about local events in manly where i grew up in sydney for the manly daily newspaper i didn't charge him any money i just wanted to get my name out there and do some writing and and then one thing led to another somebody saw that offer me a job. But another magazine Australian motoring news. Somebody saw that Autosport got in touch, you know, and then it goes from there. But you gotta start small at a level that you can do. There's no point in doing something that is way beyond your scope, because it'll never happen.
Farah Nanji: 1:05:17
I agree. I think you know, it's a marathon, isn't it, not a sprint. Well, Peter, thank you so much for coming on the show. We've really enjoyed having you on and we're wishing you all the best for this year and hope to see you very soon. And if you guys have a YouTube channel, obviously we'll give it a huge plug in the notes as well.
Peter Windsor: 1:05:33
Thank you very much. That’s very kind. And thank you for having me.
Farah Nanji: 1:05:37
Well, Peter's journey is nothing short of extraordinary. And I love the mantra he holds close to his heart by a law he thought of chance not existing. There's always a cause and reason for everything. It's going to be really interesting to see how the dynamics play out between the drivers and teams this year. Send me a message with your predictions to @missionmakers or @dj.n1nja on Instagram. We've also got some amazing guests coming on the show this season, so be sure to subscribe to the show on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, and wherever else you listen to your podcasts. Thank you again for listening. And if you're interested in supporting the show and getting some really cool rewards like DJ lessons and life coaching, don't forget to visit www.patreon.com/missionmakers.
Lessons To Fuel Your Mission
If you don't try you'll never know
One day you will thank yourself for never giving up
Find happiness in what you already have while working towards what you want
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