Mark Webber has admitted to being surprised when he discovered last year that Red Bull were keen to sign him up for 2007.
Axed Red Bull racer Christian Klien recently labelled as “strange” the energy drink-owned squad’s decision to overlook young drivers in favour of a new lineup this season with a combined age of 65.
Australian Webber, who told F1’s official website that his two years at Williams were a “setback” for his career, agreed that the perception in the F1 paddock was that Red Bull favoured fresher faces.
“Obviously, with David (Coulthard) already with the team and able to provide them with a wealth of F1 experience, I was initially surprised that they might want two experienced drivers,” Webber, 30, said.
“But it became fairly obvious early on in the discussions that they were deadly serious about being successful in formula one and were laying the foundations for a very strong team.”
The usually loyal Webber became notably disillusioned at Williams in 2006, and he is not now shy to direct a bit of criticism in the direction of the famously distinctive environment created by the team’s boss Frank Williams.
Webber, who drove for Jaguar in 2003 and 2004, hinted that he has had to re-learn his “people skills” since strolling back through the Red Bull factory doors at Milton-Keynes.
“I’d forgotten what it was like to have this level of freedom and to actually be able to enjoy what I’m doing,” he admitted.