Red Bull engineer opens up on relationship with ‘direct’ Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen has sent plenty of angry messages over the airwaves in his career so far.

Max Verstappen’s race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, has opened up on his relationship with the Dutchman.

Frequent have been the reigning champion’s radio outburst over the years since his arrival into Formula 1 with Toro Rosso in 2015, but he joined the sport as a 17-year-old kid who had a long future and a maturity process ahead of him.

Eventually, his frustration mellowed out, but he still has his moments of fury when speaking to Lambiase – the race in Barcelona when his DRS snapped shut being a prime example.

However, feeling the wrath of his driver on the other end of the radio is not necessarily a bad thing as far as the British-Italian engineer is concerned, because it takes trust in the people around you to speak your mind freely. 

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“The relationship between a driver and a race engineer is based on mutual trust,” said Lambiase in the Red Bulletin ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

“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.”

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Not only is the 24-year-old a phenomenal racing driver with a clear gift, but he has a keen knowledge of the technical aspect of racing.

“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,” explained Lambiase.

“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. 

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“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.”

Further bolstering the relationship between the parties is Verstappen’s loyalty to the team having signed a new contract until at least the end of 2028.

“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,” said Lambiase.

Verstappen leads the way in the Drivers’ Standings going into this weekend’s French Grand Prix, winning six of the opening 11 rounds of the 2022 season.