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GP Week : Issue 185
sETTING THE MARC One of the paddock’s quietly unassuming figures, Marc Hynes is a former racer turned Head of Driver Development for the Marussia F1 team. GP WEEK’s KATE WALKER sat down with him to establish exactly what that means... The motorsport career ladder – challenging though it might be – is fairly well- established. You kart, you win, you work your way up through the feeder categories, and (if the gods of talent and sponsorship allow) one day you find yourself sitting at your first FIA Formula One press conference. But in between all of those steps a driver must hone his craft, learn the myriad of skills required to succeed in a professional motorsport environment, ideally with the help of a guru of sorts who can advise their charge on how to navigate the murky waters. Marc Hynes is one such man, a former racing driver who now spends his days identifying young talent and helping them to work their way up to Formula One through a combination of guidance, driver coaching, and emotional support. The transition from racer to driver coach is a logical one, as Hynes explained. “I’ve been racing in go-karts since I was eight years old,” he said. “I’ve never really done anything else, and it’s the only thing I know, the only thing I’m interested in. It’s been quite an interesting few years doing this, as I’ve never really had a job before. No real idea of what I’m supposed to be doing, but obviously over the years you get to know this sport inside out, and the instinct for it is there. In this role it’s quite fascinating how you get the best out of each other. And then the competition side of it, you’re as motivated doing the management side as you are the driver side, but it’s a much bigger picture. It’s been quite interesting.” As a driver, Hynes learned all that he could from those around him, using every opportunity he could to learn how to improve his performances. And it is the lessons he learned then that have informed his coaching style. “Martin Donnelly taught me a lot – he really drummed in driving style, which was important, and is pretty much what I’ve used ever since, what I teach new guys,” Hynes admitted. “There’s a technique to hairpins and medium speed corners that you just have to do. It’s pretty easy and quite boring even, but it works – you save the tyres longer. Applying something, doing the same thing over and over, means you can tweak it based on the data and feedback. Once you’ve got that basic driving style, whether you’re driving a Formula One car, a GT car, you start with that basic style and then work it out from there. You just drive to the grip, basically.” So how does one go about identifying the young talent as they make their way up through the ranks? “For me, you can see whether they’re serious >>> F1 FEATUrE