Red Bull’s principal strategy engineer Hannah Schmitz has come into the public eye after knitting race-winning strategies at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Formula 1 is not just about making the fastest car and having the fastest driver. It’s a complete team sport that requires dedicated team engineers and strategists who know their jobs and excel at them.
This ‘teamwork’ again came into play as Max Verstappen claimed victory at an enthralling Hungarian GP after starting 10th.
Gaining the limelight is Red Bull’s strategist Hannah Schmitz who is been proclaimed to be the mastermind behind the winning strategy of Verstappen’s race.
Hungary was a tricky race in the matter of tyre management and stints on different compounds. So, the strategy was an important factor for win.
Hannah Schmitz explains red bull’s winning strategy
The Hungarian GP saw Verstappen win from 10th. The undercuts Verstappen performed on the cars ahead was perfectly timed and would eventually turn important for his win.
Schmitz explained fitting the soft tyres on the cars in an interview:
“Because we were starting out of position, one of the more ‘classic’ strategies to do is to start on the harder tyre and go much longer, particularly with overtaking being difficult in Hungary. But we had also actually talked a lot pre-race about if the conditions are a bit damp and very cool, that we could consider the Soft tyre as the alternative, just because that might be better in those conditions.”
“We all had a long discussion about it – with Christian [Horner] as well – and decided to change to the Soft tyres. There was a little bit of rain in the air as well, so really that was the better tyre for those conditions. Really our concern was whether we can make enough progress in that first stint to make it worth it, but obviously both drivers made great progress.“
Schmitz further elaborated on Ferrari’s “tricky” strategy situation
The evening was yet again not good for Ferrari as both drivers finished out of podium places. Leclerc finished a disappointing P6 and was certainly not happy with the strategy.
Ferrari pitted Leclerc early to prevent Verstappen’s undercut attempt. However, the hard tyres proved a fatal choice costing Leclerc the race eventually.
Hannah Schmitz explains the “tricky” Ferrari decision:
“I think it was a really exciting race for a strategist because we got to do a lot of the ‘classic’ strategy, trying to make the undercuts work, which was really exciting compared to a one-stop race or something.”
“I guess Ferrari at that point, because they started on the Medium tyres and used two set of Mediums, only really had the Hard or the Soft tyres [remaining].
“For them, it was maybe a trickier call in that situation. Fortunately, because we had started on the Soft, we then had the two sets of Mediums for the rest of the race, which really ended up being the best race tyre by quite a long way.”
The strategists at Red Bull put Ferrari under pressure due to the fear of an undercut from Verstappen. Ferrari chose to pit Leclerc for hard tyres in an attempt to get track position. However, the Scuderia completely miscalculated as it took almost 10 laps for the tyres to warm up!
This eventually costed Leclerc the race.
Max Verstappen also praises his strategists and Schmitz
We know how vocal Verstappen is. The Dutch didn’t keep his words hidden and openly praised his strategists and Hannah in the post-race conference:
“You can’t afford many mistakes. It’s of course very hard to always be on the good side, let’s say it like that. But I think we have a lot of good guys and girls in the team. Today, I think Hannah [Schmitz], our strategist, was insanely calm. Yeah, she’s very good.”
The Dutch was totally delighted with the win. The win at Budapest was Max’s best finish after starting from 10th in a race.
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