Christian Horner has revealed the reasoning behind Daniel Ticktum being ousted from the Red Bull Junior Team programme, with the Briton having also lost his seat on the Super Formula grid.
Ticktum has endured a torrid time in the Japanese-based championship in 2019 so far, scoring only one point in the opening three rounds for Team Mugen, which came in the opening round at the Suzuka International Racing Course thanks to an eighth-place finish.
His time at Team Mugen ended with a fifteenth-place finish last time out at Sugo, with the Briton describing the weekend as terrible, although he believed it was more an issue with the car more than anything to do with his driving.
“Terrible is the best way to describe [the weekend],” said Ticktum to the Red Bull Junior site after Sugo. “We tried everything with the car, the set-up, I tried changing my driving style, we all did everything but there is something wrong that we didn’t find.”
“I really wonder whether when I hit the kerb at Autopolis something was damaged that we haven’t found. It does seem that something is significantly wrong.”
“These cars are very sensitive, you can see that most of the teams are inconsistent but that doesn’t explain why I am a second off my team-mate. Not wanting to be arrogant but on an off day I might be a tenth or so off, but this is more than that.”
Ticktum, who last year was being earmarked for an immediate promotion to Formula 1 but fell short in getting enough points to earn a Superlicence, tested as recently as the post-Spanish Grand Prix test with Red Bull Racing but now finds himself out of the programme completely, with Mexican racer Patricio O’Ward taking over his seat in Super Formula.
Red Bull Team Principal Horner says Ticktum’s results were not good enough in Japan, and it was decided that the Briton was not the right driver for Red Bull’s future, either with the main team or with Scuderia Toro Rosso.
“It’s a scheme that is results-based,” said Horner to Sky F1. “He’s had a tough time in Japan, it wasn’t working out. He was a member of the junior team and it was decided that he wasn’t the right guy moving forward as an option for either us or Toro Rosso. Therefore, the stumps were called.
“He was given the shot, he was given the opportunity, it’s up to these guys to grab that with both hands.”