The voices in their ears: A guide to every F1 driver’s race engineer for 2023

2023 F1 season

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A Formula 1 driver needs an abundance of skill, a quick car and sometimes luck to be able to win. But their ability to maximise the performance potential of themselves and their car can come down to their race engineer.

The job of an engineer now is quite expansive, and during the races they spend much of their time on the radio either hearing from or delivering messages to their driver. That means their primary responsibility during track sessions is to be able to translate their drivers’ thoughts, feedback and concerns about their car into comments that other members of the team can deliver on.

For example, a complaint about understeer in one corner may require a specific solution that a colleague who is more closely examining the telemetry may have the answer to.

Once the driver is out of the car, the race engineer (and the supporting performance engineer) then spend even more time combining driver comments with data from the car to find areas to improve.

Although some racing purists may find it abhorrent, a modern engineer will also now be responsible for motivating their during their time on track and effectively telling them how to drive faster (or slower) when it comes to choosing from the wide variety of settings the driver can change from within the car.

Clear communication and trust are as important as knowing how to engineer a car, which is why drivers and race engineers tend to stick together once a fruitful relationship emerges. Here’s the rundown of who is engineering who in F1 this year, and how long each of them have been working together.

Red Bull

Perez and Bird have won three times together at Red Bull
The title-winning 140-race partnership between Max Verstappen and Gianpiero Lambiase continues into an eighth year, and if they get off to a winning start in 2023 then it will be the first time that Verstappen has won the opening race of a season. When things go less well Verstappen “doesn’t hold back”, as he admitted after last year’s season-opener.

Despite F1’s calendar growing to a record 23 events this year, it would be difficult for Verstappen to replicate or better his tally of 15 wins in 2022 as that was a new record for victories in a season. It’s not only one of the must successful driver/engineer combinations on the grid, but also one of the longest lasting.

His team mate Sergio Perez continues with Hugh Bird, who has been his engineer through both of his seasons at Red Bull so far. Together they have won three races, though they also had to navigate a few tricky team orders calls last season.

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Sainz and Adami had a few trouble spots to manage last year
Xavier Marcos Padros has come under scrutiny on occasion during his time engineering Charles Leclerc, but the partnership has been successful enough to last the entirety of Leclerc’s Ferrari career so far.

The Spaniard always communicates with his driver in English, and had a long career in junior single-seaters before joining Ferrari.

Riccardo Adami goes into his third season engineering Carlos Sainz Jnr, who inherited the trackside setup of Ferrari’s former driver Sebastian Vettel. That meant all the positions on that side of the garage went unchanged from 2020 to 2021, when Sainz joined, with the driver being the only new component.


There are not many people among the F1 teams who have remained in the same role as long as Pete Bonnington, who has been Lewis Hamilton‘s race engineer since he joined Mercedes in 2013. Bonnington was put to work with Hamilton in just his second year as an F1 engineer, but had served his ‘apprenticeship’ at the team for that role by being Michael Schumacher’s race engineer in 2012.

Hamilton and ‘Bono’ teamed up a decade ago
Bonnington and Hamilton have won 82 races and six world championship titles together, with several well-known phrases including ‘hammer time’ having arisen in their time together, and Bonnington has more F1 podium appearances than many drivers. This season will be their 11th together.

George Russell made his Mercedes debut with Bonnington in his ear as he stood in for Hamilton at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix before joining the team full-time last year with Riccardo ‘Riki’ Musconi as his engineer.

They got to stand on the podium together for the first time at last November’s Brazilian Grand Prix when Russell won, and Musconi engineered his predecessor Valtteri Bottas from 2019 to 2021, being promoted into the role after Bottas’s previous engineer Tony Ross moved across to Mercedes’ Formula E programme.

Earning a promotion from his long-held position as Hamilton’s performance engineer, Dudley has been substituted into the more senior position before, including at the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix where he engineered Hamilton due to Bonnington being absent.

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Peckett and Ocon reunited successfully at Alpine
Esteban Ocon first came across Josh Peckett during his rookie F1 season with Manor in 2016, although at the time he was working for his team mate Pascal Wehrlein. However the two still struck up a relationship and were reunited in 2020 when Ocon joined Renault.

At the time Peckett was a performance engineer, but the next year he became Ocon’s race engineer and it was a promotion that pleased the driver. The highlight of their two seasons together was Ocon’s 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix win, and they’ll be aiming for a podium return in 2023 as they continue to work together.

Pierre Gasly inherits the engineer of his predecessors at the team, with Karel Loos having engineered Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer, Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo and finally Fernando Alonso before the team’s latest signing came in.


Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test
Newcomer Piastri will work with the experienced Stallard
Lando Norris has had the voice of William Joseph in his ear since his F1 debut in 2019, and that will continue to be the case. The pair have become known for some of their more comedic radio antics, but Joseph has also been critical in Norris’s rise up F1’s pecking order.

An ever-constant on the other side of the garage has been Olympic medal-winning former rower Tom Stallard, who has worked with Jenson Button, Stoffel Vandoorne, Sainz and Ricciardo since 2014. This year he will return to working with a rookie, as he did with Vandoorne in 2017, by engineering 2021 Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri.

The relationship they have been able to foster in the off-season may be critical to how Piastri performs this year due to contractual disputes only allowing him to start working with McLaren towards the end of last year.

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Alfa Romeo

Becker will spend a second year engineering Zhou
Valtteri Bottas was partnered with Alex Chan when he arrived at Alfa Romeo last year, marking the second Finn in a row Chan had worked with as he previously helped out on Kimi Raikkonen’s side of the team garage as a performance engineer. He was given additional responsibilities as race engineer when Bottas came in.

The combination worked well, but Alfa Romeo became less competitive over the season and after scoring seven times from the first nine races they then only finished in the top ten two more times.

Zhou Guanyu started his time with the team, and as a F1 racer, with Jorn Becker engineering his car. He had previously engineered Antonio Giovinazzi, who lost his seat at the end of 2021, and helped Zhou’s adaptation to his new environment. Alfa Romeo have sensibly kept them together for 2023.

Aston Martin

Alonso has a new squad to work with at Aston Martin
Lance Stroll‘s race engineer Ben Michell started his job late in September 2021, being promoted from the position of senior performance engineer after Stroll’s previous race engineer Brad Joyce became Aston Martin’s head of trackside engineering.

He has remained with the Canadian since then, but the team’s fluctuating form means they have only scored 10 times in the 29 races since their partnership begun. Aston Martin are confident they are on the rise, and originally made the change to who was responsible for Stroll’s car because they thought Joyce could help bring the team up the grid in a more senior role.

Chris Cronin retains his job in engineering the sister car, which will now be driven by Alonso. Cronin worked with Perez until he left the team at the end of 2020, then engineered his replacement Vettel for two seasons, and following his retirement now will look after another multiple F1 champion.

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Slade and Magnussen clicked at Haas, taking shock Brazil pole
Kevin Magnussen and new engineer Mark Slade have already made headlines, having started working together towards the end of last season. They took pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix, and team principal Guenther Steiner laid some credit on the driver-engineer relationship for producing that breakthrough result.

Magnussen and Slade previously worked together at Renault in 2016, and Magnussen had started 2022 with Ed Regan as his engineer before he moved into an office-based role. Dominic Haines served as an interim replacement before the highly experienced Slade – who worked with the likes of Raikkonen at McLaren during the 2000s – took over.

His new team mate Nico Hulkenberg will be engineered by Gary Gannon, who worked with Romain Grosjean and Magnussen from Haas’s entry into F1 back in 2016 through to the end of 2020, before then engineering Mick Schumacher for two seasons.


Spini gets unfiltered feedback from Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda and Mattia Spini go into a third year of working together at AlphaTauri, and they are not just looking for a maiden podium but also do enough to convince Red Bull that Tsunoda should be retained for 2024. Several years before that Spini engineered Gasly, who has now left for Alpine.

F1 rookie and Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries gets Pierre Hamelin as his engineer. He has spent the last two seasons engineering Gasly, and has been working with the drivers at AlphaTauri for a decade. He also inherits Gasly’s performance coach Pyry Salmela.

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Russell’s former engineer Urwin now works with Albon
At F1’s last-placed team of 2022, there is continuity on the engineering front. James Urwin goes into a second season leading the charge on Alexander Albon’s car, having previously spent three years engineering Russell and two campaigns with Stroll before that.

The team’s rookie driver Logan Sargeant has been partnered with Gaetan Jego was the voice in Nicholas Latifi’s ear at Williams from halfway through the 2020 season to the Canadian’s last race with the team at the end of 2022.

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2023 F1 season

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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8 comments on “The voices in their ears: A guide to every F1 driver’s race engineer for 2023”

  1. Brilliant! Thank you – that’s very insightful!

    1. Both this article and the F2 preview are two very good pieces from Ida Wood. Great, great job!

      (I pressed “Post comment” several times, I hope it doesn’t get threepeated).

  2. On another note, Inaki Rueda has been moved from his position in the Ferrari pitwall to a factory based role. He was replaced by Ravin Jain.

  3. Of course, as always, in all driver change scenarios that involve only a single driver change from the previous season (or during a season), that driver automatically inherits the same garage side, thus race engineer & mechanic group as the previous user, which is understandably a normal procedure among all teams to avoid impracticality for the continuing driver.
    While race engineers & mechanics always get a direct successor driver, personal trainers generally follow a single driver through all of their team changes.
    Therefore, I’m still slightly baffled that Pyry Salmela went against this general approach by merely switching his partner driver rather than following Gasly to Alpine.
    I guess he simply wanted to stay at Team Faenza & I wonder who’s Gasly’s new trainer.
    Pierre Hamelin was his first namesake Gasly’s race engineer from the 2019 Belgian return onwards, as he engineered Gasly’s 2019 RB B-team predecessor Albon over the first twelve events.
    I never imagined Jorn Becker looking how he does based on his voice.
    The 2nd paragraph about Xavier Padros is rather obvious, not only because English is the requirement in radio comms, but because Leclerc doesn’t speak Spanish to my knowledge, so also off-track.

    1. @jerejj Both Xavi and Charles are fluent in Italian though. I think that English rule is stupid and favours native English speakers, most of whom can coast through life with knowing just one language.

      1. @wsrgo Okay, I didn’t know Xavi also speaks Italian, but I agree about the English rule to an extent, although I’ve never cared a lot that other languages have been used only on rare occasions.

  4. What do these Race Engrs make? “Enough”?

  5. Interesting read! I was actually surprised to learn how many of them are closer linked to their respective teams, rather than their drivers. For me, perhaps because I became a motorport fan through watching rally, it would be natural that the driver/engineer relationship would be closer to that of driver/co-driver in rallying. At least during on-track action. They need to be able to read each others moods through the tone of their voices to perform at their very best. I have long thought that Ferrari in particular need to work on that, it’s just ridiculous how often we get to hear frustration in the communications there. Even to the degree where I as a TV spectator undertand what the driver wants, but the engineer seemingly doesn’t. Having to communicate in their second, or even third language is one thing, but I think it goes deeper than that. They need to be buddies. At most teams they seem to get that, but not at Ferrari. At least that what it looks and sounds like to me.

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