Revealed: Why Max Verstappen’s engineer quit

Max Verstappen is almost certain to win the 2023 Formula 1 world championship, as he continues to dominate.

Max Verstappen’s former performance engineer Blake Hinsey has revealed that he left his role due to the travelling demands which came with the position.

Hinsey “quit travelling” at the end of 2017, Verstappen’s first full season with Red Bull, having joined the side in the early stages of the 2016 season.

Back then, the calendar consisted of 20 races, four fewer than the 24 which were originally scheduled for 2023.

This season has since been reduced to 22 events, following the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix and the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

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Hinsey worked with Verstappen at Toro Rosso before moving with the reigning World Champion to Red Bull, at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

Verstappen famously won his maiden Red Bull race after Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashed into each other, much to the shock of the world.

The Dutchman won three races in F1 before Hinsey left his role, with him having reached new heights ever since.

Hinsey quit his operation role in favour of a return to Milton Keynes, after deciding that he wanted “another challenge” without the demand of travelling across the globe.

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“Do I miss it? I don’t miss the travelling. That’s why I quit travelling at the end of 17,” Hinsey told the Sky Sports F1 podcast.

“The, you know, 19 races looking at 24 races was a lot and it’s a bit of a different story between Max.

“Max is sitting here winning world championships and I was at the time performance engineering a second/third place team and he’s, like driving effectively on easy mode, not much challenge and all the races and travel.

“I get it, but even me, like I didn’t have any aspirations to be like, ‘Oh, I have to be a world championship winning engineer.’ I was like, I do this because it’s challenging and interesting and when it became too rinse and repeat, I was like, I’d like another challenge and that’s when I decided to go back to the factory to focus on development rather than operation.”

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Hinsey got to know Verstappen very well due to the time they spent together, with him having insisted that despite what it said about the 25-year-old, he’s actually “one of the easiest drivers” to work with.

“I’ll be honest, like working with him was probably one of the easiest drivers I had to work with. The communication loop was super tight,” he revealed.

“A lot of it was nonverbal. I’d look through the data at night, have a chat with him, you know, before he left Friday night. What do you think about this? The tools, talk with GP [Gianpiero Lambiase, Verstappen’s race engineer] about the setup and that was it.”