Interview with Ernesto Desiderio
While working as a Performance Engineer in Formula 1 and other top racing series, Ernesto Desiderio has developed a highly effective method aimed at optimizing a driver’s performance – to deliver that extra tenth of a second that can make all the difference to the outcome of a race. In this book he explains the different steps of the P-D-R® (Perception-Decision-Reaction) Process, providing fascinating anecdotes about the world of motorsport.
THE BOSS BOOKS (BB): What is the P-D-R® Process?ERNESTO DESIDERIO (ED): It’s a method I’ve developed over the years to help race car drivers optimize their performances. As you can imagine, it’s very difficult to gain an edge over your competitors in a near perfect context like Formula 1 racing! Still, there is always a margin for improvement. It may be very small and hard to identify, but it’s there. In my experience, the best way to get a result is to break the driving process down into its main phases and analyze which specific aspects of each phase should be worked on. After all, the final result will depend on how well the driver performs in every single phase.
(BB): What does P-D-R® stand for?(ED): P-D-R® stands for Perception, Decision and Reaction, which are the three main phases of the driving process. First of all, drivers perceive what is happening in the car and on the track and the options to consider. Then they make a decision based on their perceptions and experience. Finally, they implement their decision with a calculated or instinctive reaction, depending on how much time is available. It may sound simple, but you need a lot of training and experience to execute each part of the process in the best possible way.
(BB): Who is this book for?(ED): I’ve written it with three main types of reader in mind: drivers, engineers and racing enthusiasts. It will help drivers understand which areas they can work on to become faster and optimize their performances. Engineers will appreciate my advice concerning the points they should focus on to improve their drivers’ results and make their work more effective. Finally, racing fans and students who want to work in this industry will find a detailed account of the challenges faced by drivers both on and off the track – including several anecdotes from my years of experience in the world of motorsport.
(BB): Why did you choose to write it in English?(ED): The world of motorsport is international. I am currently based in the UK, but I also lived a few years in the US and Germany. My colleagues come from all over the world, so our common language is English. Writing my book in English was a natural consequence of the world I live in.
(BB): What advice would you give to somebody who is interested in working in the car racing industry?(ED): You need real passion and commitment to work in this industry. If you love motorsport, as I do, it’s a great privilege to work in this magical world. It’s not an easy life, though, because it involves a lot of traveling and a great deal of pressure. The glamor and the parties soon lose their shine to make way for a lifelong commitment. It’s a very fulfilling job, but you end up spending a lot more days with your colleagues than with your own family!
The Author: Ernesto Desiderio
Ernesto Desiderio is a Performance Engineer and the creator of the P-D-R® (Perception-Decision-Reaction) Process. He has been working with the Haas F1 team since 2018, engineering every setup direction with the aim of preparing the best possible car, as well as helping drivers overcome their physical and mental barriers and optimize the speed and consistency of their performances.
Having been a fan of motorsports since his childhood, he decided to turn his passion into his job. After getting a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and an MSc in Automotive Engineering, he started working in the automotive industry, first with Dallara (both in Italy and at the Dallara Research Center in Indianapolis) and then with Toyota Motorsport, before joining the Haas team.
He combines an extensive technical knowledge with an ability to provide effective mental support to his drivers, focusing on their needs and challenges. This has led him to create a strong relationship of friendship and trust with all the drivers he has worked with over the years.