Webber: Red Bull have ‘softened a little bit’


Mark Webber feels his former team Red Bull have softened their stance on their driver programme following the return of Brendon Hartley.

The New Zealander was first dropped from the Red Bull family seven years ago after the team decided he was not up to the standard required.

But Hartley went away and created an impressive CV with Porsche in the World Endurance Championship before getting back in touch with motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko to enquire about a potential return to Formula 1.

With Daniil Kvyat dropped from the programme and Carlos Sainz moving to Renault earlier than planned, it led to Hartley coming back into the fold at Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso.

"I think Red Bull softened a little bit," Webber told Motorsport.com, using Hartley's return as an example.

"It's not as maybe as intense as it was in the former years. And maybe this opportunity would not have come about.

"You have to take your hat off to Helmut – he has looked at it, he's given him a second chance.

"It is a different environment. It's much calmer – which is I see only an upside."

Webber also sent a word of warning about junior drivers not reaching their full potential as mentality becomes a huge part of succeeding in the sport.

He said: "There's been so many drivers who were unbelievable in the junior categories, but did not really fulfil their promise in Formula 1."

"In Formula 1 I think it's a bit like a Michelin star restaurant, where as a chef you have to be an expert in many different dishes.

"In the junior categories you don't. You have to be an expert in one or two dishes.

"But Formula 1 is like a very, very tough test for the driver envelope of operation and your ability to work with people.

"You don't really have this so much in junior categories. If you're fast, you can still do the results, but later on you need to have mind management and the composure."