How F1’s new turbo engines teach an important life lesson

By: Daniel Kim

Featured Image – “2014 Australian F1 Grand Prix” by J.J. Sohn licensed by CC 2.0

“But like the 2014 F1 engine, you have to believe in all the work you’ve put in, you have to believe that when the day finally comes to strap the engine down to dyno, it’s going to fire up, and it’s going to perform.”

The inspiration for this post dawned on me while watching a special documentary on NBCSN entitled Horse Power which aired immediately after the 1st Free Practice session of the Australian Grand Prix a few weeks ago. It followed the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team as they took on the mammoth task of producing an entirely new powerplant – 2014’s 1.6-liter V6 turbo engine – in just three years.

Now three years may sound like a long time, but to design, engineer, produce and test a reliable F1 engine with extremely complex energy recovery systems and batteries is an exercise in insanity. The Ferrari engineers themselves commented that looking back at the beginning of the process, they couldn’t believe they actually thought they could complete the project in three years, which they somehow miraculously managed. Needless to say, the Winter holiday season of 2013-2014 was filled with long hours and great levels of stress for not just the Scuderia Ferrari team, but for Renault and Mercedes as well.

The climax of the program took place in a specially controlled engine dyno room, where all of Ferrari’s chief F1 personnel were gathered, along with some special guests including President Luca di Montezemelo. This would be the first time in the project’s three year history where the engine would actually be run. You could have cut the tension in that room with a knife.

Imagine the anxiety that everyone in that room must have been feeling. You work so hard, day-in and day-out for THREE years and you don’t even know if the engine will fire up (thankfully in Ferrari’s case it did). And I think there’s a great life lesson to be learned from the patience and faith that the Scuderia Ferrari team had in their new engine.

Our biggest challenges and goals in life may not come to fruition for months or even years – it’s difficult to keep your head up when the end isn’t clearly visible. But like the 2014 F1 engine, you have to believe in all the work you’ve put in, you have to believe that when the day finally comes to strap the engine down to dyno, it’s going to fire up, and it’s going to perform.

I feel very much this way with my blog, CarCrazyDan. I’ll look at my meager web traffic, or other car blogs that enjoy so much success and I get discouraged. Sometimes I’ll write a post and think: “Dude, no one is going to read that, no one even knows your blog exists.”

But I have to remind myself that although there is something to be said for tracking your day to day progress, you have to operate with a vision, you have to look far ahead into the future and believe that success will meet you there. It’s so little really about the here and now.

I’ll end with a quote I repeat to myself daily: “You must sacrifice what you are today, for what you will become.”

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