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Verstappen's Secret to Success Clarity and Team Unity

Verstappen’s Secret to Success: Clarity and Team Unity

14/04/2024

Brad Scanes reveals key strategies behind Max Verstappen’s success, emphasizing clarity and a supportive team environment during race weekends.

Brad Scanes, the former performance coach for Max Verstappen (for four seasons until the end of 2023), shared some interesting details about the behind-the-scenes preparation of the Dutch driver, especially during Grand Prix weekends.

What makes him strong? Why does he manage to maximize everything from Friday to Sunday, unlike some drivers on the grid?

The first strength of Max Verstappen and also his ‘clan’ according to Scanes: “clarity and vision.” Essentially, no nonsense among colleagues.

“We were all there to achieve the same thing. We were all there to win a world championship and guide Max on this journey. But we also had to have fun.”

“It’s a very open and honest group, and that matches how I like to work. If someone is not happy about something, nothing is ever hidden. We address the problem on the spot. If you make a mistake, you come and say ‘sorry, mate, I made a mistake’.”

“The clarity of vision, communication, openness, and honesty. And for me, it was wonderful because I was really part of the family. They would invite me to birthdays and other events when I was in Monaco. I was with him, or I would go out for dinner with his manager or have a beer with his father, without him too.”

“And this group is very large: because you have a very cohesive team of engineers around him, his race engineer, his performance engineer…”

“On a race weekend, there’s Max, his father, his manager, me, the race engineer, the performance engineer, we go out for dinner and we form this kind of very tight group. It really works and I think it’s a big part of the success we had and that he will continue to have.”

Performance isn’t just about driving, but also closely linked to a pilot’s mental preparation.

Particularly, 2021 was a unique, epic season… but also complex: since the ‘mind games’ between Mercedes F1 and Red Bull, and between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, were numerous.

How did Scanes manage all this?

“As a sportsman, working in sports, I consider myself extremely lucky to have been part of that season.”

“It’s the little things they try to do to gain an edge over each other. In the ‘cool down’ room, after a race, who will take the longest to get ready and take the most time? It’s these little mental games that the two of them were playing against each other.”

“When I played football, I was a center-back, and if you had a really good forward, you’d give them a little elbow, tug on their shirt, step on their toes a bit. It’s those kinds of little things that happen. So there were often a few conversations about race strategy and that sort of thing. But small things like that, it seems they just come naturally.”

“And you see it among the best when you are in a title fight, these little things, they come. Think about the big years when Manchester United and Arsenal faced off, or (José) Mourinho with Real Madrid against Barcelona, all those comments in the media, the mind games, and the kind of things that happen on the sidelines. It’s a bit of the same thing.”

Playing FIFA between sessions? A myth!

To mentally prepare, does Max Verstappen also play FIFA on his portable console during Grand Prix weekends, or even between sessions?

According to Scanes, that’s a myth!

“It’s somewhat of a myth to say he played FIFA before or between sessions.”

“We never had a PlayStation at a circuit or anything like that.”

“It was only in the evening when we returned that we would play. It could be FIFA, Call of Duty, or virtual racing. But that was his way of disconnecting, relaxing, and spending time with his friends, because they were all there too. And this can’t go unnoticed because we are far away.”

“We are often in a hotel room, and these last two years, Max hasn’t really been able to go out, even to dine or anything, because it’s impossible with the fans and the hype surrounding him, it’s super difficult.”

“The ability to communicate with his friends, to have this downtime and to think about something else cannot go unnoticed, given the success he has achieved by disconnecting and being able to come back to F1. I think that’s very, very important.”

“I played against him a few times, and I was beaten several times. It took me three years to beat him, but I finally did it. It was on a plane trip, actually. I finally managed to beat him. I really celebrated that.”

Verstappen’s Secret to Success: Clarity and Team Unity. Verstappen’s Secret to Success: Clarity and Team Unity

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