What’s one of Latvala’s WRC team talks like?

The new Toyota boss favored a supportive approach to driver management during his first weekend at the helm of the team


More motivation than menace. That, according to Jari-Matti Latvala, is the key to a winning team talk, and the man with the 100% World Rally Championship success rate (as a team boss) would know.

Latvala celebrated his maiden victory as a team principal on last week’s Monte Carlo Rally, but the Finn is quick to point out that his influence wasn’t so big on the season-opener because of the quality of the team he was inheriting from his predecessor. 

“I think we have to remember that I’m arriving at a team which Tommi [Mäkinen] has done so much work with,” Latvala told DirtFish. “This was really his work to bring these drivers and this car. When I come to this first round, with the drivers we have, it was not so necessary for me to be saying so much.

“But what I did try to do is to motivate more. This is the way I am trying to work. I have learned that when it comes to these talks, the loud and shouting way is not the way for me. I don’t feel it’s the best way.

“I tried to speak to everybody, to Séb [Ogier] and to Julien [Ingrassia]; to Elfyn [Evans] and to Scott [Martin]; to Kalle [Rovanperä] and to Jonne [Halttunen] and to Katsuta [Takamoto] and Dan [Barritt]. I like to talk to them all individually to give them support and a boost if they are needing.

“In Monte, I don’t think they were needing so much of the boost, but I tried to make sure they were all confident and happy.

“You know, in the old days I think there was some shouting and personally, I think it’s better to be more the supportive style.”

Sebastien Ogier

Monte winner Ogier was happy that Latvala’s first team talk had done the trick.  

The result,” said the Frenchman, referring to a Toyota one-two for him and Evans as well as four Yaris WRCs in the top six, “speak for themselves.

“I have been knowing Jari for many years, and one thing has always been very clear; he is very nice with people and that relations with him are easy. It’s early in our relationship to see how he performs [as a team principal] in that way, but I’m sure it will work just fine.”