Max Verstappen’s ability to drive an F1 car without appearing to concentrate has been highlighted as one of his best abilities by Adrian Newey.
Newey has designed cars for plenty of legendary drivers over the years but no doubt Verstappen’s exploits over the last few years puts him amongst the best.
As for the defining trait that all drivers share, Newey believes it is a sense of being able to drive the car “subconsciously.”
Adrian Newey praises the ‘subconscious’ ability’ of Max Verstappen
Newey said that what made Verstappen special was that he had “processing power” to think about what the car is doing and why.
“I think Max, like all the truly great drivers, you have the impression that he can drive the car almost subconsciously,” he told Autosport.
“And that then leaves him with plenty of processing power to think about what the car is doing.
“[That means] how he can modify his driving to suit the car, how he can change the set-up via the electronic tools on the steering wheel to assist him in what he’s trying to achieve at that particular point in the race and the particular deg the tyres are suffering and whatever.
“Basically, to read a race the whole way through.
“And I think that is something that he’s kind of had when he first came into Formula 1, but perhaps he’s really been able to develop to a very high level now.
“So, that kind of ability to drive the car extremely quickly, but still have constant reserve is something which Max very clearly has and I would say all the true greats that I’ve worked with have also been the same.”
As to how difficult he is to work with, Newey said the opposite, suggesting his feedback is excellent.
“He’s a very easy driver to work with,” the former McLaren designer said.
“He’s demanding, of course, absolutely. But his feedback is good – it’s not over complicated.
“He knows how to express what he wants out of the car. And then with GP [Gianpiero Lambiase] his race engineer, has trust that we will come up with solutions.
“We don’t always – Singapore being the example! But, we do our best.”