Mark Webber's now retired teammate did not push the Australian hard enough, according to Red Bull team boss Dietrich Mateschitz.
On the day his team confirmed the extension of Nurburgring winner Webber's contract, the Austrian drinks magnate drew a parallel between his run of form and the departure of David Coulthard.
Ahead of the 2009 season, Red Bull replaced 38-year-old veteran Coulthard with Sebastian Vettel, the young German who won two races this year before Webber recorded his breakthrough pole and victory two weeks ago.
"In the past year David Coulthard didn't push Mark enough," Mateschitz is quoted as saying by Germany's Sport Bild.
"The rivalry with your teammate is important. When Sebastian came, an old fighter like Mark saw the challenge and only then did he win," the billionaire added.
Coulthard is still an advisor to the Milton-Keynes based team.
Webber's Nurburgring pole position and victory, both firsts after 131 prior attempts, came shortly after two locking screws were removed from his right leg, which he badly broke in a pre-season cycling crash.
"I don't think it is entirely a coincidence," he wrote in his latest column for the BBC.