Ticktum: Circumstances that led to Red Bull axe 'strange'

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British driver Dan Ticktum says the situation that led to him being dropped by the Red Bull program was "strange".

The 20-year-old was considered by many to be the next young talent to make their way up the junior ranks into Formula 1 with the company, having been touted for a seat at Toro Rosso for 2019.

His hopes of gaining the necessary superlicence points faded in late 2018, however, as he lost the European F3 title to Mick Schumacher having held a big lead for much of the year.

Undeterred, he moved to Japan and Super Formula to try and obtain those final points he needed but just three races in, he was dropped by the Mugen team after scoring one point and subsequently axed from the Red Bull stable.

“I didn’t feel like the team had a lot of confidence in me, let’s say that," he told Motorsport, looking back on that short period in Asia.

"It is a bit strange for a team not to have confidence in a driver that Red Bull put in an F1 car, but there we go, it’s all done. I’ve learned a lot from it."

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It is true that, a year ago, Ticktum was driving the RB15 at the post-Spanish GP test in Barcelona.

And as for his departure from the Red Bull program, Dan, who came close to giving up on motorsport before joining Williams as a development driver last year, admitted it hurt.

"People are going to ask, ‘Am I still sour about being dropped?’ And, yes, of course I am," he said. "But I’m in a very good position now."

Switching back to his failed Super Formula stint, Ticktum believes the blame lies with the Mugen team after struggling with the new Dallara SF19 car that was introduced.

“The team had a very strong set-up with the previous-generation car and the testing I did at Suzuka wasn't too bad,” he explained. "We were looking pretty good, and making good progress.

"And then when we got the new car it became apparent very quickly that to set it up in the right window was very, very difficult. The set-up window was very narrow.

"I guess our team applied a similar sort of baseline to the new car and it just didn’t work at all to start off with.

"I was very grateful to have the opportunity to drive for Mugen," he noted. "They’d won the championship previously. But I have to say I didn’t feel they reacted enough in the testing and made big enough changes [to adapt to the new car]."

One theory Ticktum did downplay though, was whether he had adapted properly to his new surroundings.

"There were all sorts of speculation and the team saying, ‘He needs to get used to Japan, he needs to get used to the tracks there’," he revealed.

"But at the end of the day it’s a track and a race car, you know? It doesn’t matter whether it’s in Japan, or on the Moon."