Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan quickly clarified comments made prior to the Brazilian Grand Prix by the side’s head of driver academy Guillaume Rocquelin, after comments regarding Max Verstappen were mistranslated on Eurosport’s French podcast ‘Les Fous du Volant’.
On the podcast, Eurosport quoted Rocquelin as having said that the double World Champion is technically weak, before the quotes were suddenly changed to say that the Dutchman has “room to progress on technique”.
Despite this being tweaked by the network, “Max is weak technically compared to other drivers we’ve worked with” remained on the report.
Monaghan insisted that Verstappen is by no means “weak technically” and is in fact “technically extremely gifted”.
The Red Bull employee clarified the mistranslated comments to the media, where he praised the team’s star driver.
“If we may just correct some things,” began Monaghan.
“It was a poor translation from an interview from a colleague of mine. So it’s a little bit misquoted.
“However, to answer your question. Max is technically extremely gifted. He did a lot of work as a youngster, often guided by his father. And you can see the legacy of that.
“He knows what he’s talking about within the car and he knows what he wants.
“And with his engineers, they know how to deliver a car he finds nicely-balanced, easy to drive – well, not necessarily easy to drive but drivable – looks after its tyres well enough that he can manage a situation.
“And if you look at his record over the past seasons he’s been with us, it’s stunning. He wouldn’t achieve that if he wasn’t an exceptional driver.
“Can he improve? Yes, of course he can. He might not thank me for saying that. But I think there are areas he can get a little bit better.
“He’ll dig into himself and think what could he do better for a season. And it’s up to us to give him a car to go and demonstrate those skills next year.”
In reference to Monaghan explaining that Verstappen’s father, ex-F1 driver Jos Verstappen “guided” him, the Dutchman explained recently to GQ Magazine that he learnt an incredible amount from his father and that racing is “not a joke”.
“From seven to 11 years old it intensified quite a lot, he wanted me to be there to see what he was doing,” said the 25-year-old, who was named GQ Magazine’s athlete of the year.
“‘Do you see a crack somewhere? Do you see a problem with the go-kart?’ I’d see him take everything off the go-kart, then put it back on, so I’d understand the mechanics behind it.
“All these kinds of things he was trying to explain to me because he wanted me to understand it’s not a joke, it’s not that we are here for fun, because we are working towards trying to reach the top.”