Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has defended the tough stance he took against Mark Webber during the team's championship-winning years with Sebastian Vettel.
The Austrian has become renowned for his cut-throat approach as the leader of the most successful young driver program in the last decade and is also one of the most outspoken figures in the Formula 1 paddock.
His rise in profile matched that of the first world champion Red Bull created, Vettel, and at the time many read Marko's comments and saw his influence coming to the detriment of the German's then-teammate.
“With Mark, it was a misinterpretation,” he told Formula1.com when reminded of comments made in 2012 which saw the relationship between the two collapse.
“I don’t set out to be unkind. I was asked why Vettel is champion and why Mark isn’t, so I tried to explain the difference and there were just some facts. I say what I believe."
Marko also rejected the perception that the Australian was a 'number two' to the current Ferrari driver, despite incidents such as at the British GP in 2010.
"All these circumstances were what I tried to express and the magazine thought that I was against Mark, which is not true," he said. "[Drivers] get the same treatment here with us.
"I didn’t think it should be taken to criticise Mark, but I said if he was able to keep his performance over the whole season, then he would have been the champion.
"It was always, ‘If he is in the right car, he will be a winner' and then came the right car, but unfortunately along came Vettel as well. Psychologically it must [have been] very, very hard for Mark," he added.
Now in 2018, another Australian is facing a similar predicament with Daniel Ricciardo considering his future alongside the rise of Max Verstappen.
With the 28-year-old taking the patient approach, former world champion Damon Hill has warned the same outcome as his countryman is not out of the equation.
"If you don’t know what your future is you can’t concentrate on the racing," the Briton told Speedcafe.com. "It is not the ideal situation, to have other things on your mind.
“It is a very tricky thing because in F1 you can find yourself high and dry in a blink of an eye, I should know. It is difficult. I think he could do no worse than go and speak to Mark Webber and get some advice."
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