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How Purple Bull creates the right technique for Verstappen and Perez

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Devising and implementing the right race technique is an actual ‘crew effort’ in Method 1. Nonetheless, each crew has a few people who find themselves significantly tasked with figuring out the appropriate plan of assault.

Red Bull Racing has three: Head of race technique Will Courtenay, principal technique engineer Hannah Schmitz and senior technique engineer Stephen Knowles.

Courtenay, who, as his job title factors out, heads the technique group, has been with the Purple Bull F1 crew for fairly a while.

“I studied engineering at college and after I graduated, I joined this crew on the finish of 2003, once I was nonetheless known as Jaguar Racing”, Courtenay tells Autosport on the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

“I joined doing the electronics within the automotive, so taking care of the trackside electronics, ensuring all of the sensors are arrange accurately and that sort of factor.” 

In 2004, Courtenay labored on the races as Jaguar’s Techniques Engineer, earlier than shifting over to the technique division for the 2005 F1 season.

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“I acquired on fairly effectively with the man who was doing the technique at that time and I had at all times been very enthusiastic about how the entire technique labored and so forth. He had been doing it for some time and determined he did not wish to keep on travelling. So the crew wanted somebody to interchange him. They requested me if that’s one thing I is perhaps enthusiastic about doing, so I leapt on the likelihood because it was one thing that was fascinating to me.”

Courtenay was with Purple Bull in its earlier guise, Jaguar

Photograph by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

Courtenay was given the position of technique engineer, whereas the crew was renamed Purple Bull Racing: “I joined the technique group in 2005, doing the technique full time on the pit wall from 2006 onwards. And I progressed from there. I turned the pinnacle of the group in 2010.”


Courtenay will not be at each race; him, Schmitz and Knowles are alternating on the observe, so when Schmitz is on location, for instance, Courtenay and Knowles present help again within the manufacturing facility in Milton Keynes. In line with Courtenay, rotating has a few main benefits.

“I’m at all times within the background and I’ll pipe up if I must” Will Courtenay

“It helps in a few methods. Firstly, it signifies that all of us get somewhat bit extra of a break, if we do some races from the operations room in Milton Keynes and a few on the observe. Secondly, it additionally offers us a bit extra power in depth, as a result of there’s three of us that may all try this position and perceive that position.”

The one who works on the observe has the ultimate say when a choice must be made.

Courtenay provides: “However I’m at all times within the background and I’ll pipe up if I must. However today it’s all pretty clean and customarily any of these kinds of conversations can have occurred prematurely. So once we truly come right down to the crunch, we’re all on the identical web page.”

Inflexible processes are in place to ensure there may be consistency within the decision-making course of, Courtenay emphasises.

Courtenay will often be found in the background of the action

Courtenay will typically be discovered within the background of the motion

Photograph by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“We’re very cautious about how we go about doing issues. We now have a really detailed job listing which we work by, so we make it possible for whoever’s doing the position that weekend, we’re all following the identical procedures and the identical duties every time.

“Additionally, after each occasion we’ll sit down and have a gathering to debate what went proper, what went improper and what we might have achieved higher. So we’re at all times kind of studying and ensuring that we’re all doing the identical issues in the identical means. So hopefully it is constant, no matter who’s truly on the observe.”

Monte Carlo method

Figuring out the perfect race technique includes various preparation.

“That may usually begin within the week main as much as the race. So we’ll begin off by gathering loads of information. From historic occasions from earlier years and likewise different occasions which have occurred this yr”, Courtenay explains.

“We have got varied fashions that we’ll use to try to correlate that information to what we count on goes to occur at this coming race.”

The first consider F1 these days is tyre efficiency.

“That is the factor that tends to find out the principle methods. However there are additionally different components like overtaking, the period of time you lose by the pit lane and issues like that.

Managing the tyres makes all the difference in modern F1

Managing the tyres makes all of the distinction in trendy F1

Photograph by: Pirelli

“So we’ll collect all that info collectively and we’ll feed that into our fashions. That may begin to give us some predictions of how we predict the tyre’s going to behave and so forth.”

That info is then used for simulations. “So principally these simulations begin to inform you: these are the doubtless methods you are going to be doing, whether or not it is a one-stop or a two-stop and what the principle kind of race tyres are going to be”, Courtenay says.

“With all that randomness in it, you begin to get a little bit of a really feel for the sort of dominant methods” Will Courtenay

“Then throughout the race weekend, we’ll begin gathering information on tyre efficiency and so forth from apply, and we’ll begin to refine these fashions. So we’re narrowing down now what the perfect methods are going to be so hopefully, by the point we go into the race, we have a reasonably clear thought of what our principal technique goes to be, but additionally beneath what circumstances we would adapt our technique.

“If the degradation is larger than we anticipated, for instance, once we may change to a unique technique. Or if a security automotive comes out, what we would do to react to that.”

To run their race simulations Purple Bull makes use of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “We use the Monte Carlo simulation method they usually present us with a system that permit us to try this”, Courtenay says.

“So we’ll generate successfully like a random race, with a random grid order based mostly on kind of tough qualifying expectations. We have additionally acquired an expectation of what the tyre efficiency will probably be, however there will be some kind of randomised variations on that and we’ll make some random variations of when everybody’s going to pit throughout the race.

Modeling pit strategies correctly is key to success

Modeling pit methods accurately is essential to success

Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“So you may create a sort of a made-up however potential race after which we’ll try this tens of millions of instances over the course of the weekend. Then from that, with all that randomness in it, you begin to get a little bit of a really feel for the sort of dominant methods that maintain popping out pretty much as good.

“Then you can begin to take a look at that are the sturdy methods and that are the weak ones and kind of focus in on the sturdy methods based mostly on that.”

Clear and concise communication

Throughout a race, the technique group is taking a look at all of the totally different situations.

“Even when it is what appears possibly fairly an uninteresting race – possibly it is a fairly simple one-stop – there’s nonetheless quite a bit occurring behind the scenes. As a result of we’re continuously speaking about: what if a security automotive occurs? And if there’s some climate round: what if it rains? What if we now have a puncture and we immediately should make a pit cease unexpectedly?

“We’re at all times attempting to be one step forward of the sport in order that if one thing does occur, we already know what our response goes to be, in order that we’re not then having to immediately make a fast choice.”

Though Purple Bull’s dominant type has positively made issues simpler in current instances, the crew’s strategists have been accumulating loads of reward during the last couple of years.

Requested what makes the Milton Keynes-based outfit so sturdy on the strategic aspect, Courtenay solutions: “I imply, I’ve solely ever labored with this crew, so I do not actually know precisely what it will be like at a unique crew.

Having only worked with Red Bull, Courtenay has little idea of how other teams work

Having solely labored with Purple Bull, Courtenay has little thought of how different groups work

Photograph by: Giorgio Piola

“However I really feel that one in every of our strengths is that all of us work fairly effectively collectively. And never simply inside the technique group, but additionally with race engineering, with Christian [Horner] and everyone else that is concerned.”

“I feel we now have pretty good however disciplined discussions. So there will be a dialog, however it will likely be managed and it will likely be helpful”, Courtenay continues.

“I feel that is a powerful level as a result of when issues get tense or possibly issues get thrilling, it’s extremely simple for that dialog to turn out to be a bit disjointed and a bit chaotic. So it is attempting to keep away from that and ensuring that we’re passing the appropriate info to the appropriate folks on the proper time. That info is taken on board after which acted on.

“We’re by no means standing nonetheless, we’re at all times attempting to maneuver forwards” Will Coutenay

“So it is simply attempting to be clear and concise and have good, good communications throughout the folks. And hopefully, from that, we are able to maintain a transparent head and make the appropriate calls.”

Steady enchancment

A Method 1 crew is at all times taking a look at how issues might be improved additional, and with technique that’s no totally different.

“There’s at all times ongoing growth. We’re at all times continuously attempting to enhance our fashions and refine the method of what we’re doing. So we’re by no means standing nonetheless, we’re at all times attempting to maneuver forwards.

“So typically that is perhaps bettering our prediction fashions or simulations in order that we get higher predictions for the races, and typically it would simply be attempting to make issues faster and extra environment friendly.

Strategy can always be improved

Technique can at all times be improved

Photograph by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

“So it may not essentially make them higher, but when you may make them a click on of a button reasonably than two hours of labor, then that two hours is saved each weekend and which means you may put extra time going forwards into different growth. So it is at all times an ongoing course of to try to do all the pieces higher, quicker, and extra precisely.”

The tens of millions of simulations which might be run throughout a Grand Prix weekend require subtle software program. Purple Bull is well-equipped in that respect.

“I feel having the entry to sources could be very helpful”, Courtenay admits. “As I discussed, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has been one thing that is been very helpful for us over current years. However I do not assume it is simply that.

“Being in a very good crew, we additionally get to work with superb folks. The power of the engineering crew is excellent. Additionally we work with a number of the finest drivers within the pitlane and that makes an enormous distinction too. So I feel it is not simply the services, however it’s additionally the folks we get to work with. We have all been collectively a very long time, I feel that helps as effectively.”

Technique turning into extra necessary?

Even when Purple Bull is controlling the race, the crew doesn’t appear to shrink back from taking some strategic threat. Like throughout the Chinese language Grand Prix earlier this yr: Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez had been first and second after they had been known as to the pits on the similar time, forcing the mechanics to carry out a double pit cease.

“We’re a really motivated crew”, Courtenay reacts with a smile.

“We at all times attempt to get essentially the most we are able to out of each potential weekend. However there’s at all times a specific amount of kind of threat evaluation as you do not wish to do one thing dangerous only for the sake of it, as a result of typically it would backfire and then you definitely may look a bit foolish. So we’re at all times attempting to evaluate the advantages and the dangers concerned and, if it appears prefer it’s well worth the threat, then we’ll do it.”

Some risks pay off, while others don't

Some dangers repay, whereas others do not

Photograph by: Purple Bull Content material Pool

As current races have proven, the sector is getting nearer and nearer collectively, because of the technical laws being steady for a couple of years now. This implies technique might play a decisive position within the races extra typically, Courtenay realises.

“As we are able to see, the opposite groups are getting nearer to us. So I feel technique for us is now going to turn out to be extra necessary once more over the approaching yr or two, as the opposite groups are actually nearer to us in efficiency. I feel technique goes to turn out to be an actual focus once more going forwards.”

That Purple Bull’s mechanics are constantly delivering (sub) two-second pit stops, helps.

“It’s extremely useful having drivers which have superb bandwidth” Will Courtenary

“I’ve at all times mentioned it is improbable that the mechanics do such an awesome job with the pit stops, since you might be assured that in the event you’re attempting to undercut anyone, you are going to get a very good pit cease, or if you will do a double cease, that it is all going to go easily. So having the arrogance within the pit crew makes an enormous distinction, and I feel that’s one other helpful kind of device in our stack.”


Final however not least there are the drivers. Verstappen is well-known for the truth that he likes to consider technique throughout a race.

“Truly, it’s extremely useful having drivers which have superb bandwidth”, says Courtenay.

“Clearly we’re enthusiastic about it in loads of element, however it’s good that he is acquired it in his thoughts as effectively. As a result of then if we do determine to vary our technique or attempt to obtain one thing explicit – possibly we’re attempting to go lengthy and overcut anyone or no matter it is perhaps – then Max will very naturally perceive what we’re attempting to realize.

Courtenay praised Verstappen for his understanding of the assignment

Courtenay praised Verstappen for his understanding of the project

Photograph by: Purple Bull Content material Pool

“So having Max and Checo each conscious of the goals of what we’re attempting to do, signifies that they’ll drive the automotive in a means which means we’re more likely to reach these technique plans. Drivers who’re ready to consider issues like this make our lives quite a bit simpler.”

On prime of that, Verstappen and Pérez are each recognized for his or her tyre managing abilities.

“The higher the driving force, the better it’s to play with the technique and possibly strive one thing totally different”, Courtenay remarks.

“So typically for us, we wish to be aggressive and pit early and try to undercut anyone. However different instances, that is not the way in which you wish to go and also you wish to be certain the driving force can take care of the tyres, prolong that stint size and pit later, so that can give him a tyre benefit to then assault later within the race.

“Having drivers that perceive that, can take care of the tyres and actually try to meet the aims that we set them, simply makes that technique a lot extra profitable and much more precious. If the driving force could not try this, then you definitely begin to slim down your choices and then you definitely’re rather more restricted in what you may strive.”

The Hungary name 

One instance of Verstappen interfering with the race technique is the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Dutchman was tenth on the grid and was supposed to start out the race on the exhausting tyre as a result of he was out of place, however then determined to start out on the smooth based mostly on his emotions throughout the ‘laps to grid’. This name proved to be essential as he was capable of progress by the sector to complete the race first. 

Red Bull made the right change at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

Purple Bull made the appropriate change on the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

Photograph by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“On the laps to grid, Max was very clear that he felt the exhausting had little or no grip and was a really poor tyre, as a result of the temperatures had been fairly cool that day”, Courtenay, who was working again at base whereas Schmitz was on the pitwall for that race, recollects.

“So there have been some very fast discussions between Max and the engineering crew, and Hannah and us again at base. And we determined: Okay, the exhausting would not seem like it is going to work for us, let’s try to change it up, let’s begin on the smooth.

“So clearly that was one thing we needed to react to fairly shortly and rework our technique plans accordingly. However as historical past confirmed, it labored very effectively.

“And with Max occurring to win that race, it was a extremely good feel-good story for us. It was good to indicate that we are able to react shortly when we have to.”

The pit wall is where all of the tough decisions are made

The pit wall is the place all the robust choices are made

Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

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