#DrivenBy: Pim De Wit
Numbers, data and values – this is the world of Pim de Wit, Data Engineer to Edoardo Mortara. All the information recorded by the vehicle sensors is fed to the performance engineers, who then analyse them in detail. Pim works particularly closely with Edoardo’s race engineer. “We sit right next to each other, so we are in direct communication,” says Pim, describing the open-plan layout at Race Operations. “There are six groups in our office, and we all sit side by side. This facilitates communication.”
What is the biggest challenge in your job?
Pim de Wit: We all work together as a group – race engineer, performance engineer and driver. Our joint aim is to get the most out of Edo. Our job is to provide him with a car that enables him to use his skills to the full and in which he is unstoppable. The most important feature of my work is analytical thinking. But there is also a social aspect, because you are obviously working as a member of a team. Consequently, you have to have insight into other people’s needs and be able to sense when they are stressed. Motorsport is a team sport. You have to be aware of someone’s needs if you’re going to get the maximum out of them. It takes a while before you acquire that insight. Some drivers are at their best when they are annoyed, others when they are being praised all day long.
How important is it to have a good relationship with the driver?
Pim de Wit: Very important, because if things are not working out with a driver, it can get quite dramatic. But if you get by with the minimum of words and still understand what is meant, then you’re talking the same language and you can motivate each other. Obviously, you talk a lot about the setup with your driver. We decide with the race engineer the direction we want to go in. I also do an analysis of what he could improve. How is it looking with the braking, where are we aiming for at the centre and at the exit of the corner? The drivers usually get 90 percent of that right themselves, but you always try to find the maximum together and get it 100 percent right.
How much do you have to adapt your work to the driver’s abilities?
Pim de Wit: Quite a lot, because every driver has a different driving style. Whenever I’m making a comparison, I always choose a driver who has a similar driving style – even if he is a bit slower than the fastest who may have a completely different style. Otherwise my driver would immediately say: ‘I can’t do that.’ You have to know the strengths of your driver and consistently work on that basis.
What do you enjoy most about your work and what do you do in your spare time?
Pim de Wit: The most enjoyable aspect is winning! (He laughs) The best thing for me is when I see purple/pink sector times on the monitor – that’s a good feeling. In my spare time, I like outdoor sports – mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding and kite surfing – if I find the right place for it and the weather permits. We’ll be able to do that at Zandvoort!