When Carlos Sainz He was less than a lap away from getting his first victory in Formula 1, in the Italian GP, ​​a voice on the radio warned him that the objective was to get the car to the finish, that a second place was already a great achievement. The Spanish response was eloquent: “I want this victory, Tom”.

That tom is Tom Stallard, or ‘Tomasso’ as Sainz has baptized him. It is your track engineer, which for all practical purposes is the connection between the pits and the car. The relationship of a track engineer with his pilot must be not only fluid but much more: it is essential to have almost a friendship, since sometimes the broker will have to fulfill orders with which he does not always agree.

In the case of Sainz and Stallard it is more than clear. The Monza example is the last, although rare is the Grand Prix in which they do not leave a similar conversation on the radio. “Engineer’s curse. You have to be the sensible one. Inside I was screaming”He confessed after that talk in Italy with his pilot.

Having a cool mind in tense situations is key, and Stallard is behind him. Before becoming a track engineer at McLaren, with experience with Jenson Button y Stoffel Vandoorne Before Sainz, this Westminster giant was a elite athlete. Specifically, rowing.

His passion for sports began very young, and when he reached university he joined the team of Cambridge, no more no less. With the prestigious educational center he was one of the components of the regatta team against Oxford, a classic of British sport, between 1999 and 2002, becoming the Rem Club presidentor in this last year and winning the editions of 99 and 2001.

His good work led him to be included in the British rowing team for the Beijing Olympics 2008, where he achieved hang the silver medal with the national team in the category of 8 with helmsman. In fact, it was just in preparation for the Olympics that he received the call from Woking.

“At the University I had already done a course focused on motorsports, and I did an interview with McLaren shortly before the Olympics. I was precisely in the altitude concentration preparing with the team when they called me in case I could start now. I did it later just at the end of the Games“he explained a while ago.

Retired from professional sports, he focused on his work as an engineer until he was signed by McLaren and gradually progressed within the team, first as part of the group at the Woking headquarters and later as head of analyze performance data in the races. They quickly realized that their charisma and ability to read the races was a key asset that they could use in connecting with the drivers.

After helping Button and Vandoorne, with the arrival of Sainz they asked him to take charge of that side of the wall, especially to help the Madrilenian to be the leader of the team. The decision, given the results, was the right one.