A former Red Bull engineer from Stevenage has given us an inside look at the world of Formula One, including Max Verstappen's controversial title win at Abu Dhabi in 2021.

Dan Drury was a senior systems engineer at Red Bull from 2016 until early 2022, a role that saw him help shape the team and their success over the past few years.

"My role entailed the design and architecture from an IT perspective, all the systems that ran such as the the wind tunnel, the factory, the simulators and track side," he explained. 

"I would like to think I played an important role in the teams success, especially in 2021."

The Comet: Daniel with the F1 World Drivers' Championship trophy.Daniel with the F1 World Drivers' Championship trophy. (Image: Dan - Engine Mode 11/Twitter)

The finale of that season is one F1's most thrilling but controversial races in the sport's history.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, aiming to win his first World Drivers' Champions, and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who was one title away from a record eighth, went into the last race of the season at Abu Dhabi tied on 369.5 points.

Hamilton led from turn one all the way until lap 53, when Nicholas Latifi's crash brought out the safety car. Verstappen pitted for the much quicker soft tyres, but his championship rival didn't.

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Then, in a controversial move, race director Michael Masi order that only the five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen were to unlap themselves, leaving the Mercedes man a sitting duck.

Despite protests from the German team, Verstappen breezed past his rival to win the title.

Dan remain coy on the controversy of that day, simply saying: "At that time, everyone was very upbeat, positive and excited.

The Comet: Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 title in controversial fashion.Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 title in controversial fashion. (Image: PA Images)

"When what happened finally happened, everyone was just relieved, but it was so special to be involved with one of the biggest moments in F1 history."

Verstappen joined Formula One at the tender age of just 17, making him the youngest driver in the sport's history.

Hailed as a prodigy, the Dutchman impressed with Toro Rosso before making the move to Red Bull in 2016.

He arrived at the team a few months after Dan, and even back then, his talent was evident.

"I didn't have much interaction with the drivers, but Max arrived a few months after I did," Dan said.

"Even then you could see how good he was, and was going to be.

"He was confident, but not cocky. He was sure of his ability and very mature for his age. He already had that Dutch bluntness that still comes across today.

"You saw very early on he was quick, and we just knew that given the right car, he could go out there and dominate. He's showing exactly that now."

The Comet: Verstappen at the wheel of Red Bull's 2020 car.Verstappen at the wheel of Red Bull's 2020 car. (Image: PA Images)

And it was one of Verstappen's race wins that proved to be Dan's favourite moment during his time at Red Bull, adding: "A real highlight for me was the Austrian Grand Prix in 2019.

"Max won the race, and it was our first victory with Honda who we had just partnered with.

"Seeing how much it meant to the Honda staff to get that win was something really special. I was taken aback by how emotional they were.

"With Austria being the Red Bull Ring and the team's home race, that made it even more special."

While the drivers are the stars of Formula One and often get much of the credit for individual and team success, those behind the scenes, such as Dan, play just as important of a role.

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And builidng a car capable of winning races is no easy task.

"They used to bounce around this figure, that £10 million would buy you a tenth of a second in lap time. That's not a lot for the money.

"The majority of the cost doesn't go into the finished product you see on the car, a lot of it is into designs that have failed at the wind tunnel stage or the crash testing stage.

"By the time a piece is on the car, there could have already been 10 iterations of it.

"Building a quick racing car, or fixing issues to make it quicker and better really isn't that simple, or cheap."

The Comet: Dan lived the dream with Red Bull.Dan lived the dream with Red Bull. (Image: Dan - Engine Mode 11/Twitter)

Dan left Red Bull in early 2022, having "lived the dream", but his passion for Formula One continues as one half of The EngineBraking Podcast and Engine Mode 11 on social media.

"I left because I wanted to spend more time at home with my family," he explained. 

"I've done my six years and I want someone else to have their turn. 

"I was born and bred and in Stevenage, and I've always been interested in Formula 1 and engineering.

"I started watching F1 when Lewis Hamilton came through in 2007, and when I was 17, as soon as I could drive, I was one of those youths hanging around in McDonald's car park, so I've always had that interest in cars and engineering.

"I lived the dream and I'm glad I did."