Red Bull cuts F1 hopeful Ticktum from junior programme

Red Bull has cut Dan Ticktum, its next driver in line for an F1 drive, from its junior programme after an underwhelming start to his first season in Super Formula.

Ticktum was beaten to last year's European Formula 3 championship by Mick Schumacher and was placed in the competitive Japanese open-wheel formula for 2019 to help collect enough super licence points for a part on the F1 grid. However, he has struggled for results this year and ahead of the team's home race, the Austrian Grand Prix, it was confirmed he has lost all funding and a place on the programme.

"It's a scheme that is results based and he's had a tough time in Japan and it wasn't working out," team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports. "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 sums were called.

"He was given the shot, he was given the opportunity. It's up to these guys to grab that with both hands."

Ticktum had been given a chance on the Red Bull programme despite a colourful past. In 2015 he was banned for two years after deliberately driving into a rival during a Safety Car period during an MSA Formula race at Silverstone. He returned to racing in late 2016 and was picked up by Red Bull the following season.

Horner criticised the British driver last year for "engaging mouth before brain" after Ticktum hinted something was suspicious about his defeat to Schumacher in the F3 championship. At the time it was said he needed to work on his temperament before being considered as a viable F1 candiadate.

His position as the next in line for an F1 drive will be taken by IndyCar's Patricio O'Ward, who will make his Formula 2 debut in Austria this weekend. Mexican driver O'Ward also appears to be a candidate to take Ticktum's now-vacant seat in Super Formula.