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F1 race engineers: The stars of team radio with Hamilton, Verstappen and co

F1 race engineers: The stars of team radio with Hamilton, Verstappen and co

F1 News

F1 race engineers: The stars of team radio with Hamilton, Verstappen and co

F1 race engineers: The stars of team radio with Hamilton, Verstappen and co

Race engineers are among the most familiar voices in Formula 1, but not much is known about most of them apart from a few key names.

Lewis Hamilton's engineer 'Bono' is a household name for F1 fans - or at least his nickname is.

During a race, the job of the race engineer is to relay messages between the driver and the engineering team to help improve performance, provide solutions and offer advice.

It is a high-pressure job which requires excellent communication skills as well as a complete understanding of both the driver and the car.

As a result, many drivers will retain the same race engineer for multiple seasons as two-way trust is important for ensuring maximum performance when on the track.

F1 race engineers in 2023

With many drivers changing teams in 2023 and some rookie drivers on the grid, numerous race engineer pairings have changed for this season.

Many of the veteran drivers have retained their long-term engineer for 2023, but some, like Fernando Alonso who switched team to Aston Martin has a new voice on his radio.

Lewis Hamilton - Peter Bonnington

Peter Bonnington is better known by his nickname 'Bono' and has been Lewis Hamilton's engineer for the past 11 seasons.

Bonnington started out as a data engineer for Jordan before a stint at Honda working with Jenson Button.

At Mercedes, he worked with Michael Schumacher and then became Hamilton's race engineer, being responsible for the famous 'Hammertime' radio calls.

Hamilton revealed that Bono is one of few people who can 'truly stand him' stating: “We’ve had an amazing journey together, we’ve supported each other on and off-track, through good and bad times, and I love working with Bono; he’s like a brother to me, a brother from another mother.

George Russell - Marcus Dudley

Bonnington's number two was promoted to George Russell's engineer for the 2023 season.

Russell had worked with Riccardo Musconi last season, but had a vacant spot this year after Musconi was promoted to performance engineer at Mercedes.

Dudley had previously stepped in to fill Bono's shoes at the 2022 Australian Grand Prix, where he was heard over the radio talking to Hamilton.

Dudley has previously worked with Honda, Arden International and Marussia.

Max Verstappen - Gianpiero Lambiase

Chelsea-supporter Gianpiero Lambiase was born in London and is affectionately called 'GP' by Max Verstappen.

After trying music and acting, the drummer joined Jordan in 2005 and was Giancarlo Fisichella's performance engineer in the late 00s.

He later worked with Paul di Resta and Sergio Perez, before moving to Red Bull in 2014.

His stint as Daniil Kyvat's race engineer didn't last too long as the young driver was replaced by Max Verstappen, and since then 'GP' has been the Dutchman's partner on the radio.

Verstappen was disappointed to see Lambiase's low rating in F1 Manager 2022, telling Motorsport NL "The evaluation of Gianpiero Lambiase is insanely low. Probably someone was drunk when he decided on his rating. I’ll talk to whoever is responsible."

Sergio Perez - Hugh Bird

Hugh Bird has been Sergio Perez's race engineer since 2021, having spent his entire motorsport career at Red Bull.

The Cambridge graduate started out as a simulation and analysis engineer, and was Max Verstappen's performance engineer in 2018.

Considered a prodigy in engineering circles, Bird is actually younger than Checo, the driver he works with.

With Red Bull sometimes favouring Verstappen, Bird has had to make a few difficult calls over the radio passing on team orders to Perez.

Charles Leclerc - Xavier Marcos Padros

New Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur made a lot of changes at the Scuderia, but did not change either driver's race engineer.

Xavier Marcos Padros has been with Ferrari since 2018 and became Charles Leclerc's race engineer the following year when the Monegasque joined the team.

Before Ferrari, Marcos Padros worked at BNC Racing, HRT and then Williams where he was Felipe Massa's performance engineer.

He also spent time in the United States as chief race engineer for NASCAR team Richard Childress Racing.

Carlos Sainz - Riccardo Adami

Brescia native Riccardo Adami is best known as the former race engineer of world champion Sebastian Vettel, having worked with the German during their time at both Red Bull and Ferrari.

He also has appeared on the radio for Sebastien Buemi and Daniel Ricciardo and was appointed as Sainz's race engineer in 2021 when the Spanish driver joined Ferrari from McLaren.

Fernando Alonso - Chris Cronin

In back-to-back years, Chris Cronin has worked with two legends of Formula 1. He was Sebastian Vettel's race engineer for two seasons at Aston Martin and now works with Fernando Alonso.

Before that, he was Sergio Perez's engineer, but this season helped Alonso to podium finishes in the first three race of the season having formed an instant bond.

Lance Stroll - Ben Michell

With a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Ben Michell worked on helicopters before moving into motorsport.

He worked as a race and development engineer for Dunlop in MotoGP before moving to F1 to work with Catherham and then Toro Rosso, where he stood in as Pierre Gasly's race engineer.

Since 2021, he has been Lance Stroll's race engineer, having also worked as a performance engineer and senior performance engineer at Aston Martin.

Esteban Ocon - Josh Peckett

Josh Peckett is a familiar face to Esteban Ocon, having both worked at Manor Racing in 2016 when the French driver made his F1 debut.

The University of Sheffield graduate started his professional career with iSport International before joining F1 team Marussia and then Manor where he met Ocon.

From 2017 to 2021, he worked for Renault and then in early 2021 was re-united with Ocon at Alpine.

Pierre Gasly - Karel Loos

Karel Loos grew up dreaming of becoming a professional footballer, but ended up in motorsport after developing a love of F1 from setting up cars in the PlayStation game.

He studied in Antwerp and then did a Master's in Motorsport Engineering and Management at Cranfield University.

Loos worked in GT racing before moving to F1, where he was hired by Lotus before joining Alpine in 2017.

Lando Norris - William Joseph

Lando Norris and Will Joseph have been together since 2019, with Joseph having been at McLaren since 2010.

He has a Master’s in Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering from the University of Cambridge, and worked initially as a design engineer where he would help create cars for the company.

He then moved to simulators and joined the race team in 2012, where he worked with Alonso, Kevin Magnussen, Perez and Hamilton.

Oscar Piastri - Tom Stallard

Tom Stallard is an Olympic medalist and a race engineer. He won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing for rowing, but hung up his oars straight after the summer games to move to McLaren.

“I was leaving the country with the GB rowing team for our pre-2008 Olympics altitude training camp in Silvretta, Austria when I had a phone call asking me when I could start at McLaren," he told World Rowing.

He worked as Jenson Button's performance engineer, and then was a race engineer for Stoffel Vandoorne, Carlos Sainz and now Oscar Piastri.

Valtteri Bottas - Alex Chan

Alex Chan has an affinity for Finnish racing drivers, having worked as Kimi Raikkonen's performance engineer before working as Valtteri Bottas's race engineer.

Zhou Guanyu - Jorn Becker

Jorn Becker has been Zhou Guanyu's race engineer since the Chinese driver's debut in Formula 1.

Becker previous worked at Alfa Romeo with Antonio Giovinazzi and his experience helped Zhou impress in his first season in F1 in 2022.

Kevin Magnussen - Mark Slade

Mark Slade had been out of F1 since the end of 2020, but returned at the end of 2022 to partner Kevin Magnussen at Haas.

Slade previously worked with McLaren, Renault and Mercedes, where he assisted some of the best in the business.

He worked in various engineering roles and partnered the likes of Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher.

From 2017 to 2019, Slade was also the race engineer for Nico Hulkenberg, who is now Magnussen's teammate at Haas.

Nico Hulkenberg - Gary Gannon

Gary Gannon is a familiar face to fans of Drive to Survive, often appearing to encourage Mick Schumacher.

Haas have kept Gannon on for 2023 and he is now the race engineer for Schumacher's replacement, Nico Hulkenberg.

Gannon has a wealth of experience in F1, spending a decade with Honda and then working with Wirth Research and the Marussia F1 team.

Yuki Tsunoda - Mattia Spini

Mattia Spini is used to mentoring upcoming Formula 1 drivers, having worked with Pierre Gasly before taking over as Yuki Tsunoda's race engineer.

Spini has been with Tsunoda since his arrival in F1, and is hopeful that he can propel the AlphaTauri driver to his first podium.

When Tsunoda arrived at AlphaTauri, Spini was eager to work with him, telling "It is a good challenge to bring this young talent in the first year of Formula 1. His raw talent is clear to everybody."

Nyck de Vries - Pierre Hamelin

Pierre Hamelin worked with health monitoring systems and aircraft wings before moving to Lotus and then Toro Rosso.

Since 2020, he has been a race engineer for AlphaTauri where he worked with the other Pierre, Gasly, who has now left for Alpine.

Hamelin has been handed the job of race engineer for newcomer Nyck de Vries.

Alex Albon - James Urwin

James Urwin has been a race engineer for seven Formula 1 seasons with Williams, working with Lance Stroll, then George Russell and now Alex Albon.

Before that, he worked as an engineer in GP2 and as a mechanic in British Touring Cars and the European Le Mans series.

Logan Sargeant - Gaetan Jego

Frenchman Gaetan Jego has worked in motorsport for two decades, joining Williams in 2019.

He worked as the race engineer for Nicholas Latifi and is now in the ear of American rookie Logan Sargeant.

Jego had different aspirations as a child, but found out they were a little too expensive for his father's taste: "One day, I told my father that I wanted to become a pilot, he told me that it was quite expensive, but that I could become an engineer.”

As a race engineer, Jego feels he has to conduct the full orchestra on race day: “Being an engineer is a bit like becoming a conductor. A Formula 1 car is quite complicated to drive. We have to manage the tyres, the petrol or the weather. The driver is obviously our priority."

How much does an F1 race engineer earn?

Graduate engineers can earn between £25,000 and £30,000 a year working in F1, but by the time they get to the level of a senior engineer or chief engineer, this figure is greatly increased.

Senior engineer salaries are around £70,000 to £115,000 a year, and a chief engineer may earn upwards of £175,000.

Race engineers are among the most important members of F1 teams, so their salaries will reflect this, especially at the larger teams who are competing for the Constructors' Championship.

READ MORE: F1 Team Principals: Who are the men in charge in 2023?

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