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"The atmosphere was really incredible" | Meet the Irishman inside Red Bull racing

Ireland's Patrick Harding takes OTB Sports inside the Red Bull Racing garage as the season ended ...

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"The atmosphere was really incredible" | Meet the Irishman inside Red Bull racing

Ireland's Patrick Harding takes OTB Sports inside the Red Bull Racing garage as the season ended in dramatic fashion.

The Laois native is performance coach for Alex Albon and Red Bull, as well a boxer Michael Conlon and Olympian Liam Heath.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the F1 Championship in dramatic and controversial circumstances, in Abu Dhabi last weekend, and Harding told Off The Ball what the atmosphere was like in around the team.

"It was a really incredible atmosphere in the garage and the factory over the last few weeks," Harding told Off The Ball. 

"It was like a classic boxing matches, a twelve rounder, each round a different fighter comes out swinging. That's what you saw."

"Irrespective of your opinion on Mike Masi or his calls, I think either driver deserved to win that Championship."

When asked by Nathan Murphy, whether he believed them to be the right calls from Masi, Harding joked, 'Let's just say he's got himself a lifetime supply of red bull.'

Coaching Albon

While Harding does work for Red Bull, he's specifically tasked with training Alex Albon, who will be moving to Williams next season, with the Irishman following.

But how does an Irish coach rise to the level of Formula 1? Harding took the road less travelled.

His background is in physiotherapy, where he worked with Arsenal, Sydney University in the AFL, and Great Britain in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

"While I was at Arsenal I did a masters in strength and conditioning, to have more of an understanding about the training load and how that effected the players."

"In elite sport, the majority competing at the technical ability, what it's really about is execution under pressure so I went back and did my mental performance qualification."

red bull Formula One World Championship, Motorsport, Round 20, Brazil, Friday, 15 November, 2019

Harding eventually ended up in motorsport and with Alex Albon, who, after a brief spell in the Formula One, lost his seat and spent this season driving in Formula 3, while acting as a reserve for the F1 team.

"There were a few where he did tire testing, so for those weekends I was there, it was nice to dip my toe back in. I was in Formula 3 this year which is 7 races on the same circuits on the same race weekends as the F1, it was nice to feel the buzz again."

As well as ensuring Albon is physically capable of performing at an elite level, the mental aspect of racing is key to performance and Harding says that's often what sets drivers apart.

"We talk about it a lot with Alex around driving with controlled aggression. That's very different to being reckless."

The London native is one of the youngest drivers that'll be competing in the F1, along with current world champion Max Verstappen.

"It's about making aggressive decisions at the right time. That again comes down to technical ability. There's a lot of talk about Max and how aggressive he is. That's his driving style, he's always driven like that."

"It's about learning when to take those risks and when not to."

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2016 Olympics Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Alex Albon Arsenal Formula 1 Formula 1: Drive To Survive Laois Lewis Hamilton Max Verstappen Michael Conlan Patrick Harding Red Bull Racing