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Hart Clears Air Only Racing Matters for Verstappen

Verstappen’s Team: No Place for Politics, Says Hart

16/06/2024

Tom Hart emphatically states that in Verstappen’s camp, the focus is purely on performance, devoid of any political games.

Max Verstappen’s performance engineer, Tom Hart, asserted there’s “no place for politics or nonsense” within the Dutch driver’s track team.

Hart took over the driver’s radio communications on Friday during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, stepping in for Gianpiero Lambiase, the usual race engineer for the three-time world champion.

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

“Gianpiero is the one speaking to Max during the sessions, so he has to sift through all our information and decide what he thinks is pertinent to relay to Max. And then, as a driver, he also has a vast library of experiences now,” explained Hart.

“Ultimately, Max is the best sensor. He can feel what he’s up against and is adept at clarifying if he wants to try something different and precisely what that is. He’s very forthright and knows what he wants. There’s no place for politics or nonsense.”

Hart admitted that Verstappen should also rely a bit more frequently on information coming from the pit wall.

“We can see other drivers’ lap times and the wear on different tyres. If we ask Max to change something on his steering wheel, he might well think ‘Why? The balance is perfect at the moment.’ But we need to prepare for the rest of the race; we must always be one step ahead.”

On Friday at Imola, Red Bull faced two challenging practice sessions. After struggling with tyres and overall stability of the car during Free Practice 1, adjustments made for Free Practice 2 compromised their race pace.

Despite these challenges, Hart detailed the process that unfolds on Fridays, as the team first works to optimise performance over a single lap before tackling how the car will behave in Grand Prix configuration.

“We first have to ensure that the car behaves as anticipated. Then, we look at how to maximise the speed over a lap.”

“Where are we losing time in the corners? Does Max feel a restriction somewhere at the start or just at the end of a particular corner? Then, we look at longer stints and how we can guard against potential dangers in those.”

Hart has previously worked closely with one of Verstappen’s former teammates, Alexander Albon. He explained how the approach at Red Bull differed between the two drivers, much of what the latter did inspired by the former and his insight.

“With Alex, we were primarily looking at how, with the same equipment, we could bridge the gap to Max. With Max, we look less at the other side of the garage. His experience, not just in Formula 1 but also with other cars, helps us.”

“After a race weekend, I also act as a kind of translator. During the debrief, Max tells us what his limits were. Drivers speak their own language. Then, we and the factory people study his words in combination with the data collected.”

Hart Clears Air Only Racing Matters for Verstappen

Hart Clears Air: Only Racing Matters for Verstappen. Hart Clears Air: Only Racing Matters for Verstappen

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