A "genius": The woman behind Verstappen's triumphs in Formula 1

Max Verstappen can relax and enjoy the short break without racing with girlfriend Kelly Piquet.

A "genius": The woman behind Verstappen's triumphs in Formula 1

Max Verstappen can relax and enjoy the short break without racing with girlfriend Kelly Piquet. Already on the next business trip he is faced with the possible second crowning as Formula 1 world champion, possibly it will already be in Singapore on October 2nd and thus two days after his 25th birthday.

There are no longer any doubts about the Dutchman's renewed triumph. He drives too well for the competition, Red Bull's car is too good for the competition - and then there's them.

Her name: Hannah Schmitz. Job Title: Senior Strategic Engineer. Predicate: particularly valuable. Verstappen once said about Hannah Schmitz, when the Brit remained "incredibly calm" in the most stressful moments: "She is very good." The "Gazzetta dello Sport" already praised her as a "genius".

"F1 strategist, parent of 2, love what I do," Hannah Schmitz introduces herself to Instagram, among other things. She has a little over 33,000 followers. After the summer break, as a social media newbie, she actually wanted to post a little more. There have only been four contributions since the first in November 2019, when she was able to get on the podium with winner Verstappen in São Paulo.

There was a reason: Schmitz, who always puts her palms flat inwards to calm down, paved the way for Verstappen's victory with a courageous, aggressive strategy. And so she does it again this year on the way to his second world title. Schmitz' role at the command post was "the lynchpin," emphasized team manager Christian Horner once.

Started as an intern, she is now chief strategist

Schmitz is a Cambridge graduate, she is the mother of two children, but otherwise reveals little about herself. She says of herself that she plans everything. When traveling with the family, things are packed the day before.

Her journey into Formula 1 began in 2009. Schmitz started as an intern at Red Bull Racing. She then worked in the racing team's strategy team when Sebastian Vettel was still successful there. Schmitz has been the chief strategist for around a year and a half.

"Strategy, the courage to take risks, flashes of inspiration, the perfect feel for data and the necessary calm to make crystal-clear decisions in the hectic of a chaotic race" are needed in Formula 1, wrote the Austrian "Kleine Zeitung" this year the home of Red Bull and emphasized: "Hardly anyone currently combines these qualities like Hannah Schmitz." She is "crystal clear" in decisions, the word "maybe" does not exist for her, said Red Bulls motorsport boss Helmut Marko.

Despite winning the race: hostility in social networks

Schmitz, who is supported by a large team - during the race, for example, students listen to all radio traffic for further evaluation - has asserted itself in a horsepower world that is still dominated by men. "As a strategist, you have to tell tons of people what to do - and they have to listen to you, so it's important to build trust, and I think that's a lot harder as a woman," she explains on the website of the racing team. She has now earned this respect.

Respect, which is sometimes lost. Success comes quickly. Just like recently with Verstappen's home win in the Netherlands. The fact that a racing car from the Red Bull sister team Alpha Tauri broke down and caused a safety car phase fueled the conspiracy fantasies of some Formula 1 fans. Schmitz was sometimes badly insulted on social networks. Such hateful behavior cannot be tolerated, Alpha Tauri reacted and rejected allegations of cooperation.

After the hostilities, Schmitz found the ideal strategy from billions of data points in the race afterwards in Italy, and Verstappen, currently leading in the classification with 116 points, also won in Monza. With the "calculated decisions" made by Schmitz and her team, Red Bull has all the information at hand to win races, according to an article on the racing team's homepage. The old and possibly new world champion can enjoy a few days without a racetrack even more relaxed.

Red Bull interview with Hannah Schmitz Report Kleine Zeitung World Cup status

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