Who’s right and who’s wrong? A Scary Situation.

Recently in F1, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel part of the Red Bull F1 racing team were all set to take a 1-2 victory in the Turkish Grand Prix. There were around 17 laps to go when the younger of the two drivers, Sebastian made a move on the dirty side of the track over team-mate and race leader Mark Webber. Mark refused to give him any space, while Sebastian felt he had nailed the spot and maneuvered his car to the clean part of the track and in the process colliding with the unrelenting Aussie. In effect, Sebastian spun out of the race into retirement while Mark owing to the scuffle, lost track position to both the chasing Mclarens. The race eventually ended with a gift-wrapped 1-2 for the Mclaren team and only a consolation of a third place for Mark Webber.

The tension in the Red Bull pits was quite apparent – many of the team leaders waving arms in the air and some even stood shouting outside Sebastian’s trailer. After several days of deliberation it is still not clear who was at fault. Should Mark Webber have allowed Sebastian to overtake? Shouldn’t Sebastian have been happy with a 1-2 for the team? Was there a need for such a dangerous and rather silly move towards the fag-end or a race?

There are people on both sides of the fence on this issue. It’s amazing that there seems to be no clear right and wrong here. For any team of players or colleagues, there are many pitfalls that could arise from a situation like that if not properly handled:

  • It could lead to disharmony among team members and reduce co-ordination
  • A call may be taken on the basis of strengths, merits, experience and quite often, favoritism. The resulting verdict may not be able to take into account fully whose fault it actually was and another has to suffer for it.
  • Mistrust & discontent increase

The following course of events may probably also occur – one team member trying to gain leverage over the other by sweet talking the management while the other does his best to dig out the dirty laundry of his new rival. Instead of fighting as sportsmen in the real sport, the in-fighting begins. Mudslinging, blame shifting etc. all the resulting fall outs that widen the chasm in the team even further. What should an individual stuck in such a situation then do?

Such incidents are a good way of determining how strong a team really is or how close a group of people are. The case may be among siblings too, who, having played tug-of-war with daddy’s shirt, ripped it in two.

The solution to a dilemma like this can be learned from how our parents handled this situation when were kids:

  1. Both parties were sent to the corner to think of what we’d done – Make both individuals understand that they both had a part to play in the folly.
  2. Clean up the mess together – Both individuals are responsible for collectively improving the performance.
  3. No rewards/punishment to either unequally. Each one should get their share of the reward/loss.

These are solutions based on what the arbitrator of the situation would do. If however you’re one of the offended parties, just hope and pray that your judge and jury have these common principles with them already.

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