Mark Webber believes Sebastian Vettel’s off year in 2014, which saw him overshadowed by then team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, can be explained by off track distractions.
Webber, also a former team-mate of the Ferrari driver, reckons Michael Schumacher’s 2013 skiing accident “knocked” Vettel, whilst becoming a father for the first time also contributed.
“We’ll only find out further down the line, he’ll probably open up a little bit about that year and what was going on,” Webber is quoted by Fox Sports.
“From the outside looking at it I think Michael [Schumacher’s] accident really knocked him round, that really hit him, as he’s very close with Michael.
“[Also] he had a child, and all of a sudden maybe lap times were not the number one priority for the first few months of the year, and then it started to snowball.”
Vettel had mentally checked out of Red Bull according to Webber, and therefore his move to Ferrari was vital to revitalise his career.
“I think the Ferrari thing [deal] happened pretty early, and Red Bull were not in a race-winning situation – they couldn’t win off their own bat, although Daniel [Ricciardo] and the team did win when they had the opportunity.
“So all these things. When you mentally check out, when you’re leading a team, it’s over.”