Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber believes that ex-teammate Sebastian Vettel needed to find fresh motivation in Formula 1, prompting his move to Ferrari for the 2015 season.
Vettel first became associated with the Red Bull brand back in 1999, rising up the motorsport ladder with its backing before going on to claim four consecutive world titles for the team between 2010 and 2013.
However, he opted to activate a clause in his contract to walk away from the team at the end of 2014, switching to Scuderia Ferrari for the new year.
Speaking to Australia’s Herald Sun ahead of the opening race of the F1 season, Webber feels that Vettel had been keen to fly the nest and move out of the Red Bull programme before his difficult 2014 season.
“Seb’s not a silly guy,” Webber said. “He realised that he needed fresh motivation and a new change and I think the decision was made very early, probably before the season even started to be honest.
“The line is not ‘they [Red Bull] won’t miss Vettel’, the line is that when he wants to do something else and be in a different environment, then he is better off going somewhere he might feel he will get more out of himself.”
Vettel has been replaced at Red Bull by former Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat, who alongside Daniel Ricciardo forms the team’s most inexperienced line-up in its 11-year F1 history.
Although Webber believes that the team lacks depth, he thinks that Ricciardo can follow on from his impressive 2014 campaign to push the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg this year.
“That’s definitely a question for the team halfway through the season, whether they are missing some of that experience,” he said.
“They are lacking a little bit of continuity at Red Bull now,” Webber said. “There are a few people who have left the team, so that will be interesting to see how technically good the car is over the course of a full season, not just at the start.
“They will be a solid outfit and to match last year will be another good achievement for Daniel. He will want more. He will want to fight for the championship and Lewis and Nico will be the hardest nuts to crack.”