Behind every great driver is a great race engineer, and that’s no different at Red Bull with Max Verstappen and Gianpiero Lambiase forming the latest F1 dream team.
The voice of Lambiase is the one you will hear talking to Verstappen during each Formula 1 race and they are two peas in the same Red Bull pod – straight to the point with no BS between them.
At one stage of the Miami Grand Prix, Lambiase had no problem telling Verstappen to “concentrate on his driving” when the two-time World Champion had a request for him – but Red Bull boss Christian Horner says this is just one of many clear signs of a very healthy relationship.
“Everything’s fine between them,” Horner said, as quoted by SpeedWeek.
“Gianpiero is simply not afraid to speak his mind. The dynamic between the two is so intense that in between you have to ask yourself who is supposed to be the driver and who is supposed to be the engineer here.
“I think the work between a driver and his race engineer is quite fundamental to success. The engineer has to be able to implement what the driver needs. I recognise as strong a bond there as there used to be between Sebastian Vettel and Guillaume Rocquelin [Rocky].”
Verstappen has also made it clear there is absolutely no lingering tension between the two of them, even though it may come across that way during live broadcasts.
“Like me, Gianpiero is straightforward about what’s going on,” Verstappen analysed.
“We are fundamentally honest with each other, which is particularly valuable in those moments when things don’t go so well on the race track.”
“In the process, there can also be situations where one has to be very strict with the other. But that’s important. I need someone to point out when I screw up, even on the radio.
He has previously said on the Talking Bull podcast: “We’re so open with each other on the radio that someone might think we’re angry with each other. And even I myself think it sounds like that from time to time.
“But we’re never angry with each other, we’re just looking for ways that we can find more speed.
“We get along so well that there’s no need to apologize to each other after a heated debate. We have a great working relationship, and we push each other. It keeps us both on our toes.”
PlanetF1.com’s recommended reading
Lambiase himself has also underlined the importance of honesty in their relationship because holding back on their respective thoughts could easily lead to a costly breakdown in communication.
“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.
“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.”