Who is Pierre Wache? Meet the man set to inherit Adrain Newey’s Red Bull empire

Adrian Newey has served as Red Bull’s chief designer since the end of 2005 but that could all change next year


Adrain Newey is poised to deliver a devastating blow to Red Bull’s long-term aims of Formula 1 dominance as he is set to sensationally quit the team due to the internal power struggle involving Christian Horner, but who is Pierre Wache, the man likely to succeed him as the lead designer?

Wache currently serves as the technical director at the defending double world champions, meaning that he is just one rung below Newey himself in the aerodynamics department making him one of thee crucial figures in Max Verstappen’s team.

In his current role, Wache has helped create Red Bull’s 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 cars. All of them have won multiple races within a single F1 season and three of them have become championship-winning cars under the careful guide of Max Verstappen’s talent.

Wache’s exceptional performance as a technical director has seen him attract significant attention from rivals wishing to poach him, none more so than Ferrari, who wanted him in exchange for allowing Laurent Mekies to depart for AlphaTauri (now RB), Red Bull’s sister team.

The 49-year-old began his F1 career back in 2001 when he joined Michelin to work on creating tyres for the sport, specialising in the relationship between the tyre and the track itself. Initially focusing on the molecular level of tyre interaction, he then graduated to become a project leader.

He remained in the role until redundancy in 2006 when the French tyre supplier quit, with the engineer taking his talents to BMW Sauber. There he served as a performance engineer and focused on the tyres and suspension, beginning to mould his Michelin history with his doctorate in fluid dynamics.

At Sauber, Wache then enjoyed a series of promotions, becoming the team’s vehicle performance head and finally a member of the technical committee in 2012, focusing on race engineering and vehicle performance.

Max Verstappen, his engineer Gianpiero Lambiase and chief engineer Pierre Wache talking at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen, his engineer Gianpiero Lambiase and chief engineer Pierre Wache talking at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The Swiss team, at the time, was known for being good on it’s tyres, allowing it to punch far above its own weight with Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez, the latter gaining a reputation as a tyre whisperer.

Sauber, in 2012, collected four podiums and came very close to winning the Malaysian Grand Prix in a straight fight with Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and for the impressive season, Wache was then collected into Red Bull’s arsenal of skilled engineers.

And for the following 11 years, he has remained with the current world champions. Within six months he had become the team’s performance director and then in 2018 he became their technical director, helping to oversee their return as the sport’s dominant force.

What is an F1 technical director?

An F1 technical director is responsible for overseeing the aspects of designing, developing, and optimizing the team’s race cars. They typically lead a team of engineers and designers in areas such as aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, chassis design, powertrain development, and overall vehicle performance.

The technical director plays a crucial role in setting the strategic direction for the team’s engineering efforts, ensuring compliance with regulations set by the FIA, and ultimately aiming to achieve competitive advantage on the race-track through innovation and optimization of the car’s performance.

They often work closely with the team principal and other senior management to align technical decisions with the overall goals and objectives of the team and they are one of the most recognisable faces of the team.

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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