Josef Leberer

Sports medicine has evolved enormously in the last 20 years but Austrian Willy Dungl - who shot to fame in the late 1970s helping Niki Lauda overcome the injuries he suffered in his fiery accident at the Nurburgring in 1976 - has long been the leading figure in F1 healthcare. At his world-famous Dungl Clinic in Gars-am-Kamp in Austria Dungl has created a second generation of specialists, the leading member of which is Josef Leberer.

Trained as a physiotherapist, Leberer ensures that drivers are in tip-top condition. This is not just a question of them being physically fit, but also being mentally strong. Leberer works to create prepare drivers both mentally and physically, including devising their training programs and their diets.

Leberer is the best in the business and during his 10 seasons in F1 has worked with almost all the top drivers at some point or other.

He started working at the Dungl Center in 1988 and, as the Austrian establishment had been linked with the McLaren team since Lauda returned to F1 in the early 1980s, it was with the Woking team that he began his career in Grand Prix racing, advising Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost about their preparations for races. The relationship with Senna developed into a strong bond and Leberer played an important role in building Senna into the dominant force he became in 1989-90-91. He also advised Gerhard Berger, Michael Andretti and Mika Hakkinen.

When Senna decided he was leaving McLaren at the end of 1993 he asked Leberer to go with him to Williams and after Senna's death at Imola he stayed on with the team to help support Damon Hill for the rest of that year. He then went back to McLaren to work primarily with Hakkinen, particularly as the Finn fought back to fitness after his near-fatal accident in Adelaide in 1995. In 1997 he joined Red Bull Sauber Mercedes.