Lambiase discusses ‘direct’ Verstappen partnership

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen with Gianpiero Lambiase. Silverstone July 2021.

Max Verstappen speaks to race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase on the grid. Silverstone July 2021.

Max Verstappen’s race engineer has said he is not bothered by the Dutchman’s outbursts as a “direct” relationship between an engineer and driver is crucial.

The relationship between Gianpiero Lambiase and Verstappen is one of the most famous of all driver-engineer pairings on the grid.

While their relationship can be humorous at times, such as Lambiase replying to Verstappen’s question if they could win this during the 2020 British Grand Prix with a “if you get on with it” and the Dutchman reminding his race engineer to stay hydrated during a particularly quiet 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, it can also be tense on occasion.

An example coming during the Spanish Grand Prix when Verstappen’s DRS failed to open as expected which led to him shouting “I’m pressing it [the DRS button] 50 f***ing times before it opens.”

However, the race engineer, who has worked with Verstappen since the reigning World Champion joined Red Bull in 2016, said the more direct a driver is, the better it is for the team.

“The relationship between a driver and a race engineer is based on mutual trust,” Lambiase told the Red Bulletin Heroes magazine. “The more direct a driver is, the more he trusts the team.


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“My experience is that if a driver stops giving his honest opinion about the car and starts circling it, the results get worse. Max is direct, but so am I. That makes working with him very open, honest and easy.

“Some drivers want to get to the bottom of the data, while others don’t want to be involved at all. And then there’s Max. He explains very precisely where he can push the car to the limit and what exactly he needs to drive faster. We always know what to do because of his instructions. A driver who can communicate clearly is a great gift.

“He has an incredibly natural feel for racing, coupled with a good analytical mind. Some drivers need time to become this fast, but Max was fast right away. He knows the limits of the car and what he needs to do to make it go even faster. So it makes sense for us engineers to listen to him.”

Verstappen signed a new contract in March which ties him to Red Bull until 2028. Lambiase said the Dutchman had no plans to leave as he believes in the team’s work.

“His long-standing commitment to the team also plays a part. He wants to be part of Red Bull for the long-term, he believes in us and in our work.”