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Manager confirms Hartley’s Red Bull ousting ‘political’

Brendon Hartley’s manager has confirmed that the driver’s ousting by Red Bull was a “very political” move.

20-year-old New Zealander Hartley was one of the energy drink outfit’s development drivers this year, also attending races with Daniel Ricciardo as joint F1 reserve driver.

But, with little explanation, he has suddenly lost his drive in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, and apparently also his place on the F1 programme.

The news followed reports of a power struggle between Red Bull Racing’s Austrian and British management factions, with some sources indicating Hartley was a respected member of the Milton Keynes-based team in terms of his input in the driver simulator.

“We cannot comment until a few things are sorted,” Hartley’s manager Peter Johnston told New Zealand’s Herald on Sunday.

“A lot of things are up in the air.  The whole thing is very political.  We are not in a position to say anything and we have to be very careful what we do say and so we are better to say nothing,” he added.