Guillaume Rocquelin, Red Bull's former Head of Race Engineering, thinks that Max Verstappen is "weak" on a technical level in comparison to other drivers. Rocquelin has long been a part of the Red Bull stable, having started as David Coulthard's race engineer before working with Sebastian Vettel in the same role during the German's championship-winning years. In 2015, Rocquelin became Head of Race Engineering before switching in 2022 to his current position as Head of the Driver Academy. Having worked with both Verstappen and Vettel – the team's most successful drivers to date – Rocquelin believes that there are some key differences between the two.
Rocquelin: Vettel was more complete than Verstappen
"I think Sebastian was a more complete driver than Max when he arrived with us," Rocquelin told Eurosport France' s Les Fous du Volant podcast. "At the professional level, technique, mediation...he was trained at the [Michael] Schumacher 'school', who was his idol. "He asked a lot of questions, took a lot of notes and when he arrived with us he was very thorough. It is no coincidence that he won several titles. He was more prepared technically, mentally. "I think Max maybe had more natural talent, that's what he relied on the most. But Sebastian was the most complete. "Max has always been a boss. He has enormous self-confidence, he knows what he wants and he is very direct. "But I'll be honest, Max is weak technically compared to other drivers we've worked with. I think he still has a lot of progress to make. "He is a leader by his attitude, his results. But I think he can improve from a technical point of view and in the way of developing the car."
Rocquelin impressed by Verstappen's growth
Despite citing this area for improvement, Rocquelin has praised Verstappen for his increasingly mature approach in 2022, something that he sees as a contrast to the Dutchman's performance in his first championship-winning season. "What struck me the most [in 2022] was that he has somewhat lost this 'desperate hunger' that he had last year," Rocquelin explained. "He has matured. He has gained consistency. Winning the championship has given him a lot of confidence and he drives in a different way. "We can't necessarily speak of a single trigger. It is something progressive, there were several stages. "He started F1 very young with great ambition and perhaps not the maturity that went with it. He also started with Toro Rosso, who perhaps had less stature and experience. Then the stages began when he arrived at Red Bull. "There was more confidence in the team, a good record, he was closer to his goal. He won a race immediately with us, which allowed him to take a step forward. "Gradually, he won more races, and developed links with his engineers."