Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber believes that Daniil Kvyat was a victim of Red Bull's renowned ruthlessness when it comes to driver performance.
Kvyat has been relegated to Red Bull's sister team, Toro Rosso, and replaced by 18-year-old Max Verstappen just four races into the new season, with many observers believing it was punishment for twice colliding with the back of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari last time out in Russia.
However, Webber suspects that Kvyat’s fate was sealed long before that, and that he has fallen foul of Red Bull’s influential – and impatient – advisor, Dr Helmut Marko.
“Helmut just wants performance,” Webber told NBC Sports. “He wants to put the fastest guys in the best scenario as quick as possible.
“People just say that the mistakes that Dany made, it was off the back of that, but obviously it was probably accumulating to a point where they were not overly happy with his performance in the build-up.
“Normally you wait until the end of the year but obviously you know that doesn’t happen sometimes, particularly with Red Bull. They change it whenever they feel — bang.
“In Formula 1, you have nowhere to hide.”
Verstappen is due to make his Red Bull debut at the Spanish Grand Prix this week.