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Max Verstappen

Verstappen engineer: 'No room for politics or bullshit'

Tom Hart took over the Red Bull pit wall on Friday at Imola, replacing Gianpiero Lambiase as Max Verstappen's first port of call over team radio. He has explained what it is like working in the Dutchman's performance engineering unit.

Verstappen Imola FP2
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To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen's performance engineer, Tom Hart, says there is "no room for politics or bullshit" between the Dutch driver and his trackside team.

Hart took the reigns of the 26-year-old's team radio on Friday at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, in place of Gianpiero Lambiase - the three-time champion's usual race engineer.

Together with Michael Manning, both Hart and Lambiase form a key trio in aiding Verstappen during sessions, with the latter acting as the filter between driver and the engineering unit.

"Gianpiero is the one talking to Max during sessions, so he has to filter all our information and assess what he thinks is relevant to pass on to Max. And then, as a driver, he also has a huge library of experience by now," Hart explained to Dutch outlet de Telegraaf.

"Max is ultimately the best sensor. He senses what he is up against and is very good at clarifying whether he wants to try something different and what exactly. He is very direct and knows what he wants. There's no room for politics or bullshit."

'You look less at the other side of the garage' with Verstappen

Friday at Imola saw Red Bull endure two difficult practice sessions. After struggling in FP1 with tyres and the overall stability of the car, set-up changes for FP2 saw underlying race pace compromised.

Aside from those difficulties, Hart detailed the process that occurs on a Friday, as the team works to first optimise single-lap performance before tackling how the car will fare in grand prix trim.

"First we have to make sure the car behaves as we expected beforehand. Then we look at how to get more out of the speed over one lap," he said. 

"Where do we lose time in the corners, does Max feel a restriction somewhere at the beginning or just at the end of such a corner? Then we look at the longer runs and how we can protect ourselves from possible dangers in them."

Hart previously worked closely with one of Verstappen's former team-mates, Alexander Albon. He explained how the approach at Red Bull differed between the two drivers, with much of what the latter did being informed by the former, and his insight.

"With Alex we were mainly looking at how, with the same material, we could close the gap with Max. With Max, you look less at the other side of the garage," he revealed. "His experience, not only in Formula 1, but also with other cars, helps us.

After a race weekend, I am also a kind of translator. In the debrief, Max tells us what his limitations were. Drivers speak their own language. Then we and the people in the factory look at his words in combination with the data collected."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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