Formula 1 Racing

How Red Bull creates the perfect strategy for Verstappen and Perez

Courtenay was with Red Bull in its previous guise, Jaguar

Devising and implementing the perfect race strategy is a real ‘team effort’ in Formula 1. However, every team has a couple of people who are particularly tasked with determining the right plan of attack.

Red Bull Racing has three: Head of race strategy Will Courtenay, principal strategy engineer Hannah Schmitz and senior strategy engineer Stephen Knowles.

Courtenay, who, as his job title points out, heads the strategy group, has been with the Red Bull F1 team for quite some time.

“I studied engineering at university, and after I graduated, I joined this team at the end of 2003, when I was still called Jaguar Racing”, Courtenay tells at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

“I joined doing the electronics in the car, so looking after the trackside electronics, making sure all the sensors are set up correctly and that kind of thing.” 

In 2004, Courtenay worked at the races as Jaguar’s Systems Engineer, before moving over to the strategy department for the 2005 F1 season.

“I got on pretty well with the guy who was doing the strategy at that point and I had always been very interested in how the whole strategy worked and so on. He had been doing it for a while and decided he didn’t want to carry on travelling. So the team needed someone to replace him. They asked me if that’s something I might be interested in doing, so I leapt at the chance as it was something that was interesting to me.”

Courtenay was with Red Bull in its previous guise, Jaguar

Photo by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

Courtenay was given the role of strategy engineer, while the team was renamed Red Bull Racing: “I joined the strategy group in 2005, doing the strategy full time on the pitwall from 2006 onwards. And I progressed from there. I became the head of the group in 2010.”


Courtenay is not at every race; him, Schmitz and Knowles are alternating at the track, so when Schmitz is on location, for example, Courtenay and Knowles provide support back in the factory in Milton Keynes. According to Courtenay, rotating has a couple of major advantages.

“I’m always in the background and I’ll pipe up if I need to” Will Courtenay

“It helps in a couple of ways. Firstly, it means that we all get a little bit more of a break, if we do some races from the operations room in Milton Keynes and some at the track. Secondly, it also gives us a bit more strength in depth, because there’s three of us that can…

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