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Webber suggests Red Bull program "not as intense" after Hartley return

Written by  Jan 13, 2018

The return of Brendon Hartley into the Red Bull family and the Toro Rosso team suggests the driver program is "not as intense" as before, former driver Mark Webber has claimed.

Known for their cut-throat approach that has seen names like Jean-Eric Vergne and Sebastien Buemi fail to make the grade, the talent pool has shrunk in recent times with only the recently acquired Dan Ticktum a well-rated member not currently in F1.

It was for that reason when it was decided Daniil Kvyat had had enough opportunities, Red Bull turned to Hartley - who they dropped in 2010 - after he approached motorsport advisor Helmut Marko about giving him another chance following success with Porsche in the WEC.

"I think Red Bull softened a little bit," Webber told Motorsport.com. "It's not as maybe as intense as it was in the former years and maybe this opportunity [for Hartley] would not have come about.

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

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Looking back at some of the names who have made it to F1 after a strong junior career only to see their star fade, the Australian puts that down to the very different demands of competing in the 'pinnacle of motorsport'.

"In F1, I think it's a bit like a Michelin star restaurant whereas a chef you have to be an expert in many different dishes," he said. "In the junior categories, you don't. You have to be an expert in one or two dishes.

"F1 is like a very, very tough test for the driver envelope of operation and your ability to work with people. 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."

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