Guillaume Rocquelin, otherwise known as Rocky, has been a key member of the super-successful Red Bull pit-wall since 2009 as Sebastian Vettel’s Race Engineer. In recognition of his efforts, the team have announced that he will be promoted to a more senior role as Chief Race Engineer for 2015. This is perhaps part of the inevitable reshuffle which will take place with Adrian Newey’s imminent step into the background at the team.
Red Bull Reshuffle
It was anticipated that Rocky would receive a promotion ahead of 2015, particularly following Adrian Newey’s comments in Friday’s press conference in Belgium. Upon being asked whether the team were planning on bringing in engineering talent to fill the void which he will leave, Adrian responded by stating that Paul Monaghan, Simon Rennie and Rocquelin would have the expertise required. This somewhat quelled rumors that James Key could be brought in from Toro Rosso and prove that it is not only drivers who can be scouted from the junior outfit. However, Rocky’s promotion suggests that Key will continue in his role at his current team.
Stepping into Rocky’s shoes will be Gianpiero Lambiase, otherwise known as Sergio Perez’s Race Engineer at Force India. While driver and engineer compatibility is difficult to predict, I would suggest that Red Bull have made a shrewd move in signing Gianpiero – a man who has been in the role of Race Engineer for several years and overseen the progress of Vitantonio Liuzzi, Paul Di Resta and now Sergio Perez. Clearly, he has been able to develop good relationships with divers in the past, meaning that Sebastian is likely to be comfortable in the arrangement.
However, Vettel will certainly hope that Lambaise’s appointment can galvanize somewhat of a renaissance of his career. 2014 has been without the faultless performances and incredible consistency which made the previous four campaigns so remarkable, particularly in 2011 and 2013. While there are numerous theories regarding Sebastian’s dip in performance, it will be Gianpiero’s job to give his driver a boost back to winning ways.
However, it may take time for the pair to develop the relationship which Vettel and Rocky shared for so many years. I for one, will miss the classic radio conversations which made the duo one of the most well known in the paddock, but just like Massa and Smedley, all good things must come to an end…