Hannah Schmitz is Red Bull’s Chief Strategy Officer. His role is to determine the best strategic plans for the team, coordinate decisions and make them in the heat of the moment, if the unexpected happens during a race.
A very complex role with very high responsibilities, which, she explains, has many more facets than one might imagine from the outside. This is why she reveals to have compassion for her counterparts on other teams when there are strategic mistakes.
“Totally” admits Schmitz. “I think it’s very easy for people to comment on strategy. People don’t understand all that’s going on behind the scenes and how things aren’t always as clear as they seem. »
“Billions of simulations” to prepare for a GP
Confirming the complexity of this work, Schmitz specifies that the Hungarian Grand Prix was prepared upstream in simulations, taking into account all the possible scenarios of the Hungarian Grand Prix: “We’ve done billions of simulations, that’s no exaggeration. And really, it looks at all the historical data. »
“We looked at what happened in the last three years in Hungary. And then we also look at everything that has happened so far this season, and we take into account what has happened. went to France. »
“For the race we also have sensitivities, so if something is different from what we expect, we know what it could mean for a race strategy before it happens. Of course, it’s never black. or white either, so it’s always about reacting to the race situation too. »
A situation that can sometimes lead to react quickly: “You don’t have to make a decision in 10 seconds, you must already have a plan”even if there are sometimes unforeseen events, which oblige him to make the decision in the moment. “Obviously Christian can override it, but he doesn’t tend to. »
Schmitz was ‘recognized’ at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix
This was the case during the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, where Schmitz made the decision to bring Verstappen into Safety Car: “When he came out, I said ‘I think we have to stop, let’s do it’. » A decision which allowed Verstappen to win, and which decided Horner to send Schmitz on the podium to recover the trophy of the constructors of a victory which she had built: “Being on the podium is the chance to be recognized”.
The strategist is pretty impervious to pressure, as she knows her decisions lead to results that millions of fans around the world watch live: “Yes, it’s a very stressful environment. But it’s definitely the part of the job that I enjoy the most. »
“I think with the high pressure comes a feeling of adrenaline and focus in the race. It’s something you don’t really feel at any other time in life. I love that. And I think the fact that your decisions can change the outcome of a race is also what makes it so exciting and interesting. »
Monaco, a difficult race… except this year!
Hannah Schmitz admits, however, that she does not like playing this role in Monaco, a very difficult race to tackle, as was still the case this year despite Sergio Pérez’s victory: “It’s a race you never want to do! It’s the hardest part, it’s not a strategy like elsewhere. »
“It’s very difficult because it’s often a pit stop. But the fact that it was wet made the race quite interesting because we were able to put together a strategy. So actually it was really exciting Monaco this year, I’m really glad I did it! »
In place for many years at Red Bull, Schmitz does not plan to leave the team despite the interest it arouses with certain teams: “I am sometimes contacted, but I am happy at Red Bull”.