We catch up with Yannick Mettler, a professional racing driver whom we interviewed last year. Today we asked him a few questions on what a racer is actually looking for in a driver manager.
What are the most important qualities that a driver needs from his or her manager?
That would be an excellent network, credibility and negotiation skills. Obviously, also the ability to motivate sponsors and investors, but I have only heard of very few who can deliver all of that together.
Ideally, a driver can rely on such a manager so that he can fully focus on his job, which is to win races. Personally, I used to do everything on my own most of the time – I thought my resources were more productively spent on opportunities on track. But then I also think many things could have turned out better if I had the support of a good manager in the past years.
What’s the manager’s role in the driver’s mental preparation or handling emotional pressure?
To me, the most help I could hope in terms of these things is that everything would happen naturally, which accelerates the whole business around you. You no longer feel left alone with all the struggles as well. Another aspect is that you are sort of “protected” from negative vibes, which is often underestimated. Getting filtered feedback can be very decisive for a sportsman’s motivation and mood, which affect his following performances.
A manager makes sure that, if you deliver the results, the right people will know. This accelerates your career and maybe gives you a shot here and there.
Tell us about any deal-breakers for a driver considering a manager.
Too many managers promise too much. I prefer if a potential manager tells me exactly what he or she would be looking after, and what is not the manager’s concern. Then you know where you stand and you don’t waste time expecting things that won’t ever happen. A manager needs to be able to add value to a driver’s career, while the driver should give the manager reasons to believe in him. It should be a constant team effort.
Is the role of the driver manager changing throughout the years?
Yes, I think so. Just as the sport changes, so do the circumstances for drivers and managers. I would say that the speed or talent of a driver is still the main thing to convince a good manager (and teams) to work together, but other factors such as personality, background, and self-marketing abilities are getting more and more important. From a marketing and social media point of view, drivers need to be far more active these days. Fans want to share the journey with the drivers, not with somebody representing them…