In a sport, or any endeavor for that matter, the only way we improve and move ahead is to go through an evaluation process from time to time. The end of the season is a great time to think back through the last season and do an honest evaluation. If you do, you will be taking advantage of a process that will surely enhance your future performance.
The best time to evaluate your season is right after it is over. Don't wait and think that you can do this later on. Do it while the information is fresh in everyone's minds and while the notes are still intact. Delaying this process will only make it harder on everyone. Set up a meeting for the week following the last race of the year. Tell all of the team members to attend and to bring with them any and all notes they may have taken throughout the year.
You can make it an end of season party if you like and invite all of the family members for each of your team. Find a few minutes where the crew can meet and talk over the year. This could turn out to be a good time to reflect on successes and areas where improvement would make things better. The following are some areas where discussion might bring up new ideas and solutions to problems. Feel free to add to this list as you see fit.
There are four subcategories under the heading of performance, so we will take a look at each one separately.
One of the first things we think about throughout the season and especially at season's end is how the chassis performed. Were we fast enough through the corners or do we need to make changes? This is easy to determine. Any one of the crew and the observers for the races can remark about how your car looked compared to the lead cars (if you weren't the lead car of course).
Did your driver run up on cars at mid-turn or get run over? If you took segment times during the season, you will know the answer to this question. If you didn't, make a note to do that next season. If you're off on lap times, you must figure out where you are losing (or more appropriately gaining) time. Each setup sheet for each race should have the lap times for all of the significant cars you are running against. It would be a nice addition to include turn segment times also for both your and their cars.
Tire temperatures are a great indication of performance after the fact. That and tire wear tell lots about the dynamic balance of your setup. If you changed setups through the season, go over what the driver said about those changes, look at the lap times for the different setups, and see if you improved your qualifying and finishing order.
How did your engine perform over the course of the season? Did it require work and did it hold up well? Look for notes on cooling issues, fuel feed problems, and ignition failures. A discussion on those topics could result in basic changes to the engine package that could help prevent similar problems next year.
This includes discussion of items such as how your car is wired, plumbed for cooling and oil, plug evaluation, radiator efficiency, and others. A review of the type of radiator or other components that affect the engine temperature might be in order.
Ask everyone to critique how the crew performed in the handling of duties, performance under pressure, and other topics. How satisfied is each one of them in their work and the work of others. Did they mesh well and were they able to cover each other when things got busy? Is the shop time constructive besides being fun?
The work needs to get done and at the same time, the crew should look forward to the time it spends at the shop and the track. This is an important issue for almost all teams. The more successful teams seem to be having fun in all they do.
How did your team do last...
How did your team do last season? Now might be the time to discuss all that happened and plan for next year so that you can be better prepared. Team meetings can happen anytime throughout the season.
Team duties can be shared...
Team duties can be shared if needed. Mechanics who work well together will benefit the team. One person who does not get along well with playmates can ruin your season.
And you wonder why I use "he/she"...
And you wonder why I use "he/she" so much. It's her fault. Each team member has a list of responsibilities and you can go over how they performed after the season is over. Everyone needs a thorough review and everyone should be open to suggestions.