Podcast #518- Optimum Drive w/ Paul Gerrard

Join Paul and me as we discuss the new book by Paul Gerrard called Optimum Drive. Gerrard joins us to unpack some of the finer details of his book, the art of racing, what race craft is, and what it means when you say, “managing transitional energy”. 

We even find time to discuss some Formula 1 news and hand out awards. 

Get a copy of Paul Gerrard’s new book here

Fashion award winner:

BTR Player:

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Max Johnson

This is probably your best ever podcast.


That’s a very big call Max, it was good, but best ever?
There are 518 other F1B’s to consider, and many Downshifts, but most of all, the was no Grace in it, so by definition, it can’t be the best ;-)

The International

Well its kind of like the best driver ever question, no real way of telling but thanks for the compliment, it was a bit different from most.

Max Johnson

It was one of the most enjoyable and educational for me, especially since I’m no racing driver. Interested me enough to consider getting the book.


You’re quite right Max, it was really interesting, and as you say educational.
The articles based around the book are a really good read too, I really enjoyed them.
Perhaps PC and Paul could review of driver performance in some podcasts as the battles develop through the year, and help us to see when output focused drivers are best at managing the transitional energy and out performing their cars ;-)

Negative Camber

Thanks for the kind words, Max. I really enjoyed having the Paul’s on too.


Is the reluctance to employ driver coaches also apparent in WEC and IndyCar? If so, at what level of the junior series do coaches cease to be used? Or is it a facility only used by amateur drivers rather than those trying to make a career out of it?


Good question Dave, and building on that, given how important the performance of a driver is to a team, don’t the teams provide driver coaching or feedback as part of their whole performance maximisation process?

the International

well I know that it is more prevalent in Indycar, and even in the top teams with their superstar drivers they don’t have the likes of Dario or Rick Mears around for nothing. WEC with it’s multi driver line up pretty much takes care of itself as the drivers help each other. The lower teams from Indy lights on down do provide team coaches, an additionally they drivers may have personal ones as well. So as far as thats concerned it more an F1 and perhaps GP2 issue than any other


Thanks P.C, that seems bizarre, that’s a real performance enhancement opportunity they’re squandering. Or maybe the drivers are all working with Paul G under confidentially agreements………come on guys you can tell us, we’re all mates at F1B ;-)

Julio P

Fascinating stuff, thanks kindly. One question; Paul gerrard described Vettel as one of the special few alongside Hamilton and Alonso re. Able to adapt and being an ”output” driver. How does this square with his last season at red bull where he was markedly inferior to ricciardo? Did he not fail in adapting to the car? Btw I recommend ‘Lewis mistreated’ by radiohead for possible soundboard action. Thanks again

Paul Gerrard

Good question about Vettel’s inconsistency, no one is perfect, the car didn’t suit him and he was unable to easily adapt and Ricciardo got in his head as a result. He also struggled last year with his temper tantrums in the car (certainly entertaining!). It shows the fine line where greatness can occur and when it doesn’t they sometimes struggle badly as a result. It’s the human part of being almost superhuman. Every driver struggles, the pressure is huge and the task crazy complex but the great ones have a process nailed down to always eventually find there way back.… Read more »


Hi Paul, Great point, “the task is crazy complex”, why do you think most F1 coverage does such a poor job of telling that story to the fans? We hear that one characteristic of the driving greats is their ability to analyse the behaviour of the cars, and give clear technical feedback to their engineers, but in the interviews for tv almost none of that comes across. We get to see from the in-car shots that the drivers have a complex array of settings they adjust while racing, but there is seldom more than superficial discussion about the range of… Read more »

Brock Totman

I want to say thank you. I am very new to Formula One, this is only my second year watching it. I started to listen to your podcast this year, I find it fascinating and interesting to listen to your insight into this sport that I’m really only starting to understand. I really enjoyed this episode because it brought so much insight into the driver’s side of the sport and details of driving those cars on the limit of speed. I have tried my best to watch races, documentaries, tech reports and anything Formula One related. But I want to… Read more »

Negative Camber

Hi Brock, As a newer fan, this site is dedicated to new and veteran fans alike. The intent is to provide a safe harbor for new fans to ask veterans about the sport without being berated. I think we do that pretty well here. You can also email any of us with questions and we’ll answer them. Paul’s book is a good start. Sir Jackie Stewart’s is another good book that teaches the history of the sport. I hear Damon Hill’s is good and so is Mark Webber’s. I try hard to keep this podcast and site both technical enough… Read more »