MAX VERSTAPPEN’s bid to defend his F1 crown is being boosted by British racer Jake Dennis.
The 26-year-old from Nuneaton is Red Bull‘s development driver and he also races in Formula E for the Andretti team.
Jake Dennis spends hours in the Red Bull simulator fine-tuning Max Verstappen’s carCredit: Getty
Dennis is a versatile driver and spends HOURS in Red Bull’s simulator to help fine-tune Verstappen‘s race car.
Meanwhile, he is also out to win the Formula E title himself this season, after finishing third in the championship last year during his rookie campaign.
Dennis, who will race in the Rome ePrix on 9 and 10 April, says he enjoys balancing his own racing commitments with working for Red Bull.
He said: “In 2020, I basically lived at the Red Bull factory in Milton Keynes. I was there all the time.
“I didn’t really have too much racing going on myself and they needed a driver who had a bit of F1 experience.
“This year has been pretty hectic already. I think with a new car it just puts more demand on the workload.
“So there’s been quite a lot of simulator work and that will continue on throughout the year.”
Dennis’ simulator work runs alongside Red Bull’s on-track work, only back at their UK base.
While Verstappen and Sergio Perez are at the GP circuit and limited to three hour-long practice sessions, Dennis is driving in a virtual version and makes set-up changes trying to hone the car and making it quicker.
He added: “When they’re running in FP1 of FP2, I’ll be there at the factory just running alongside their programme or trying any test items which they want testing.
“They’ll send it on the simulator first to get all the calculations and the driver’s feedback, and then they’ll make their decision on whether they should make it onto the real life car or not.
“The simulator is seriously impressive and allows the team to really get an advantage over some of the other teams.
Max Verstappen became the 34th Formula One World Drivers’ Champion last DecemberCredit: AP
“There are some days where I will be in the simulator from 9am until 6pm and other days where I am offering race support.”
Although he was overlooked for drives in F1, Dennis has had plenty of success in his junior career and is now enjoying his time racing for Andretti in Formula E.
He added: “Formula E is a completely different ballgame. Formula One is obviously massively advanced in terms of speed and just pure grit but what the drivers can actually do in the actual racecar is very limited.
“Obviously, they’ll drive as fast as they can but in Formula E, the software is so far more advanced and it is more technically involved for a driver.
Max Verstappen recovered from his DNF in Bahrain to win the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on 27 MarchCredit: EPA
“There is never ending development in trying to improve the battery and the technology itself.
“I had a great season last year as a rookie, so it only makes sense to try and beat that.
“In Formula E, generally the best man on the day wins and that means you need to push even harder, make the car even faster and drive even better.
“So hopefully we have made some progress from the last race in Mexico and have a good result in Rome this weekend.”
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship’s most extensive calendar to date continues in Rome this weekend for a double-header on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 April, with the Sunday race live on terrestrial television on Channel 4 from 13:30 BST.
Catch-up on all the information as the series builds up to the 2022 London E-Prix, which returns this year on 30 and 31 July.