Sebastian Vettel's former Red Bull teammate Mark Webber has expressed concern at what he sees as the German driver's career spiralling downwards.
The pair were teammates during Vettel's years as World Champion, with their tense and fractious relationship softening to friendship in the years since.
With Vettel's form becoming increasingly erratic and unimpressive over the past two years, Webber believes that the final months at Ferrari have done some damage to his former rival's psyche.
“It’s really, really hard to know how all this has happened,” Webber told RacingNews365.com.
“But, I think it’s pretty clear. I’ve watched a bit of Drive To Survive and you know,if that’s what’s coming out, the inside of Ferrari must have been quite challenging for him.
“So he was looking for a change of scenery. But we’re always measured on what we’re doing in the car.”
Vettel found refuge at Aston Martin as the team rebranded to the British marque after a few years of being Racing Point, and Webber reckons that the change of team will result in a happier driver.
“I think he’d be happier at Aston Martin," Webber said. "[He'll] certainly be happier thereMonday to Friday. But,what’s the stopwatch doing? That’s the biggest barometer and he knows that better than anyone.
“He’s his toughest critic. He’s going to be really hard on himself. It’s easy for this stuff to snowball out of control. And that’s what his mission has got to be now is to make sure this doesn’t snowball out of control, that he can get back on the horse and have sort of some feeling with this car.
“It doesn’t matter what your name is, or how big is your trophy cabinet, every year in Formula 1, you’ve got to deliver and he knows that as well. So the next six or seven races are going to be crucial for him.”
With Vettel's career starting 14 years ago this season, Webber believes there's not much left in the German's repertoire from which to pull new ideas or tactics.
“He’s an extremely old dog in terms of new tricks now and that’s something which.. a lot of it’s on Seb’s watch. So it’s a lot down to him.
“I think there’ll be no lack of enthusiasm in the new team to try and muster up what they can. But I just think a lot of its down to Seb in terms of getting to these next few events and the stopwatch can just stop a lot of this rot and that’s what he’s just going to be craving for as soon as possible.”
With Vettel's Ferrari dream ultimately ending in failure and a miserable final season as their relationship broke down, Webber said he had no regrets about never joining the team after being linked with a switch to the Scuderia.
“I don’t regret not going there,” he said. “I think the passion, that’s the biggest thing, it’s that Italian fans, somehow it’s a drug for you, that you would love to go and represent them and drive them.
“To have success with them, it must be like no other team in the world. It’s like an old, stately home. Red Bull have had a great success, but that’s a ‘new build’.
“Ferrari have been around forever and to have your name etched in their history, if you have big results with them, is special. But I don’t know how sentimental they are.”