Christian Horner finally scotches Lewis Hamilton to Red Bull stories
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Jul 2011   |  7:33 pm GMT  |  262 comments

Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has today come out with some comments which close the door firmly on ideas of Lewis Hamilton joining the Red Bull Racing team.

Horner met with Hamilton at the recent Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, starting all kinds of speculation which neither man was quick to shoot down. It was a puzzling incident from many angles; at Hamilton’s press briefing on Thursday in Valencia, he said that his meeting with Horner had taken place before qualifying in Canada. Horner later confirmed that it was at about 5pm on Saturday evening.

With Vettel under contract for three more years Red Bull do not need Hamilton from a racing point of view and there would clearly be risks of destabilising the team to have two champions, as has happened in the past. But Red Bull is a maverick brand and from a marketing point of view, Hamilton’s edgy style and appeal in markets Red Bull would want to reach, gave the notion of him racing with them some credibility.

What has been interesting has been that both sides have let the stories hang there for a while. Today, however, Horner took the opportunity to say what common sense suggests,

“A Hamilton-Vettel combination, on paper, would look very attractive to any team,” he said. “However, what you have to look at is the dynamics of any partnership like that and it’s difficult to see how two sportsmen at the absolute top of their game could work in harmony under one roof.

“That’s where the dynamics within a team are so important. History demonstrates more often than not whether you look at [Alain] Prost and [Ayrton] Senna or [Nigel] Mansell and [Nelson] Piquet, that it doesn’t tend to work.

How an Austrian Magazine saw the future

“Lewis is a wonderful driver, probably currently one of the top three in the world, but presently we are very happy with the combination we have.”

This is the common view in F1; that Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel are the three outstanding drivers of this generation. And so logically having them in three different teams is in the best interests of sport. It looks like that’s the way it will be, with Alonso committed to Ferrari for five years.

“Our understanding is that Lewis is committed to McLaren next year. We are under a long-term relationship with Seb. He is a product from the Red Bull junior programme and we are very happy with the job Mark Webber is doing. It’s difficult to see how Lewis fits into that.”

So far so logical, but Horner takes the opportunity to remind Hamilton of something of which he is all too painfully aware; that the younger man has come in and stolen his thunder,

“In a shorter career Seb has already won more races than Lewis, had more pole positions and won the same amount of championships.

We are absolutely delighted to have Sebastian.”

So much for the “Crash Kid” as McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh rather unwisely described Vettel last year.

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kind of funny to hear Hamilton as a top three driver and after four and a half seasons he “inherited” only one WC having had a very good opportunity to have 2-3 WC’s under his sleeve. I know he’s a fast racer, superb overtaker…but he has mades too many mistakes. Not smart enough to be consistent race after race….kind of over-rated IMO. Vettel still needs to learn effective overtaking but if he starts from pole, no-one can stop him. He’s got his chances and has taken almost all of them. If I were Horner I would never consider hiring Lewis…he just don’t need him and he may be counterproductive for the team….similar like what happen to McLaren in ’07; both WCs should have been theirs and the Hamilton’s and Dennis blew it up badly because of the rookie…


I think Lewis better start worrying about his performance rather than the car’s, especially when the title he won was a gift!

At least when Vettel won the title, he was at the front when it counted, and not 5th or whatever Lewis got in 08 at the finale round.


You can win even from the grave, check F1 history.


James I have a feeling that red bull may make a move for jenson I no that all the talk has been about Lewis making a move there but jenson would be a better fit there I feel just wondered what you thought on that idea ??


Don’t see that myself


Tired of hearing Lewis moan how the whole world is against him, telling past drivers to keep their opinions to themselves when all they did was answer interview questions.

The guy is really showing he’s true colours and for one I don’t think Red Bull would want someone who thinks they are bigger than the team.

Lewis, you’ve been given the best or almost best car for your entire career and saying things like next year’s contract is dependent on results with Mclaren this year amazes me.

This guy has no option but to stop with mclaren for the next few years, No way of Ferrari having him, Red Bull says no. So keep your head down for a bit Lewis if you want to keep in a competitive car and hope Mclaren extends the contract in your favor after next year or I guess we will be seeing you in NASCAR.


I agree. Lewis thinks he’s David Beckham of Formula One. Red Bull should stick with their current drivers or wil lost chances to win Formula One title next year


Vettel is a premier qualifer, and theres probably no difference between him and Hamilton.

However with race pace the jury is out, I personally think Hamilton has stronger race pace – that has always been his strong point, even in lower categories qualifying was never his strong point.

People talk about Hamilton walking straight into McLaren. Does it really matter as he proved he deserved it by being classified higher than the 2x WDC Alonso?

People then compare this to Vettel having to be in a STR. But hasn’t this ‘equality’ now swung too far the other way? i.e. wouldn’t you give up 1 year in a mid/back grid car to have 3 or 4 years of a DOMINANT car? I know I would.

Every top driver looks good in a dominant car, its just perception.

Hamilton has also never lost to his teamate in any racing category. Vettel in comparison has. One of those is Di Resta in the Force India. Put Di Resta in that RBR and he’ll probably do the same thing again to him, i.e. beat him in identical car. So Vettel does not have an unblemished racing CV like Hamilton has.

Vettel has also only been benchmarked against team mates by the likes of Luizzi and Bourdais.

Hamilton has already had to face 2 WDC’s already in his short career which is almost unheard of, yet came out on top.

I think its for these combined reasons Hamilton does not fear of going into Vettel’s team. And that speaks volumes, Hamilton is not afraid of Vettel. It seems to be more that Vettel is more afraid and blocking Hamilton from joining the team.

You see Vettel realises that no team mate has ever beaten Hamilton in same car. Vettel must be thinking ‘if Alonso couldn’t do it how would I be able to do it…’ and once you start doubting you’ve already lost half the battle.

Another point is that Horner has been lieing the past year or so. He categorically said that RBR don’t have a #1 #2 policy like Ferrari did. But he’s now effectively demonstrated that he doesn’t want two #1 drivers, he wants a #1 and #2 setup hence no space for Hamilton.


Hamilton is indeed an awesome driver, people forget that he practically gave Kimi his first world title in his debut season, he could have easily been a two time world champion by now. I for one would love to see Kubica driving alongside Fernando at Ferrari, since it doesnt make sense for Hamilton to move to Red Bull, I would love to see either Kimi or Jenson in a Red Bull and Mark Webber driving the Renault. The reason I would choose either Kimi or Jenson for Red Bull is because both of them seem comfortable in their own skin. I dont recall them being involved in garage politics with their teammates. They are both quality drives who could do a better job in that car than Webber. They both fit the Red Bull profile(not just their parting habits). They both have a decent relationship with Seb, just like Fernando and Kubica. Massa and Webber arent bad drivers but I think their seats are wasted with them in those cars.


Its interesting the way this has all been played out in the press (silly season stuff).

To be honest I’ve actually changed my opinion somewhat of Lewis having seen him speak at the FOTA event.

What you have to remember is that he’s actually still a young guy, and his perceived arrogance/petulance is actually just him still being fairly young.

I agree with horner that it would not be right for Redbull. I rate Hamilton/Alonso as the two top drivers in the sport and either one of them in a Redbull I think would succeed.

Sebastian is a product of Redbull, and buying someone in when you’ve developed your own world championship would not really be the done thing would it. Especially if he beat their home grown product.

Even though I cant make it to Silverstone, I’m still really excited about the weekend. I was going to go up tomorrow and work from the track (3G cards are great arent they), but I cant now.

Everyone who is going, have a great time. Give my regards to Copse.


Does Horner actually make the final decision though, or does Dietrich Mateschitz have any influence?

Of course what might be a challenge for Horner would be brilliant publicity for Mateschitz.


Red Bull F1 Team’s one purpose is to increase sales of fizzy drink. They will do this by grabbing as much media space as possible. Speculation about driver lineup is great advertising and contributes even more to the companies EBITDA. F1 is a show, not a sport, this is constantly echoed by Ecclestone whose sole purpose is to increase his companies EBITDA off the back of the revenue stream providers. Hamilton to Red Bull ticks all the boxes for increased revenue streams across the board.


Ahh how fickle the media is, if Vettel crashes out and Hamilton wins the next couple of races it will all turn around and the F1 merry go round continues.


Horner has played Hamilton like a fiddle. He was never going to sign him. It was all part of the gamesmanship of winning the championship.I feel the Hamilton to Red Bull thing was encouraged by Horner to drive wedge between Hamilton and his team and cause a distraction. In addition to this Hamilton’s frustrations have snowballed as result of having one eye on a Red Bull seat. I believe Horner is a canny chap, it’s been a very successful ploy, but he probably can’t believe how fruitful this little game has been.


Who knows the reality and how good really Vettel is?

There are always goig to be “ifs” and “buts”-even if Alonso or Hamilton will drive for the same team as Vettel, there is always going to be a reason or excuse for one to be better than the other.

I think that people here….also me before I realized it….are accusing Vettel of something that he has no control over. Think about it…he was driving as good as it was possible last year…he is driving as good as possible this year. He did not cone to F1 the same way Hamilton did, while starting in the winning car from day 1.

things are working well for Red Bull – the have the best car, the smartest engineer, one the best driver who is at the peak of his abilities right now……people are pissed off, many people….mclaren, ferrari….button, hamilton….alonso. But what vettel can do? He should drive as good as he can……he is not here to satisfy you an me, he is to win as many races as possible.


I think we have to remember aswell, that this years redbull, is thoroughly built around vettel, and probably would be even if lewis went there.

Also i think that Mclaren dont particularly like Lewis, even though the interviews to the contrary, far from it being lewis’s team, its actually jensons team. Mclaren just realise Hamiltons quality and know they would be silly to lose him by openly dislking him.


In what car did Vettel win the Italian GP of 2008?

Steven Pritchard

Vettel sneaked last years Championship and this years he is dominating the start of the season similar to JB’s 2009 compaign.

The thing is we’ve yet to see Vettel perform in a not-so fast car week in week out, until he has a good season in an ordinary car, I will suspend full judgement.

As for Christian quashing the rumour? Well who knows what was said behind closed doors, he’s hardly going to admit to it now is he?


In 2008 he placed 8th in the championship in an STR. Does that count? Rhetorical question of course.


Red Bull dont want him but Lewis can still stay at McLaren- all he needs to do is stop slagging off his own team, stop thinking that he is Senna , no more “social visits”with other team bosses, stop being jealous about Vettels car and Alonsos No1position in the team, accept lower wages and try to be more polite to his race engeneer.[ to watch old f1 seasons go to ]

Michael Prestia

At least we know how Horner feels about Mark.



Maybe a little off topic but:

Would love to know what difference a drivers weight has on the performance of a F1 car.

Drivers like Button and Webber are about 12kgs heavier than some of the drivers –

What does this do for performance and tyre wear?

Also should there be a standard weight all the drivers should be – ie the lighter drivers carry a few kgs with them?



Good point. We’ll do something on that


For harmony I feel Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren should keep the same drivers for 2012.

As a fan I would prefer the top three drivers in separate teams like now. Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton.

Lewis is getting edgy as championships have been lost. I agree with what Mansell said in a recent article that Lewis should stay with McLaren. 2007 was almost his WDC, 2010 was not really his but possible. All top sportsmen badly want championships and world records.


If you are a team boss and has the luxury to choose one driver among Alonso, Vettel and Lewis it is very clear that Lewis is the last option.

Because of obvious reasons.


To compare Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel, this is how I look at it:

(1) To put them in a much faster car like RBR this year, they will all win the title.

(2) With an car advantage of smaller scale, Lewis or Vettel will probably win more races but I bet Alonso will win the title more easily. For instance in 2009 and 2010, Alonso will make the championship fight look a lot easier than JB and SV did if he was driving for the Brawn or RBR respectively.

(3) with a second faster car, I bet Alonso will have the best chance to battle for title. Again, 2010 is a good example of that.


James, I have noticed that your website has become more flashy and headlines even more juicer.

I prefer ur older style and a impartial views.Hope u keep that..otherwise its just


Such as?


I love the new look and extra features added to your website as long as the content is to it’s usual high quality this will always be the first website I come to for my info


No one likes change too much but when a website changes its lay out, it takes time to get used to and thus eventually becomes the norm.

Regarding the content, it was the best on F1 in my view and after? It is still the best on F1 in my view.

Keep up the good work. Maybe one day I might win a competion on here who knows. Probably the one I will win will be drive an F1 car but at 6’4″ and 1??kg find I am not eligible. Can someone who is 6’4″ ever win a GP, don’t bother answering that one!


I’d be better for the sport if they just canned all the CFD and aerodynamicists and let the folks race than worry if Lewis is going to pull a LeBron James and go drive the sports drink car.


I’m taking my talents to RedBull 🙂


The fact that LH even approached Horner at a race weekend smacks of amateurism. Surely he knew that such a meeting would (1) create media interest which would eventually need to be killed by Horner and/or (2) create a negative feeling within Mclaren.

Surely he didnt really think that such a secret-yet-not-secret discussion with Horner could end in a positive result from any perspective ??

James : Do you know if any journo has asked LH to explain why he approached Horner? If so, was the answer “valid” or just blah-blah-blah ?


I have an enormous amount of respect for Lewis as a racer & competitor (and that comes from a big Fernando Alonso fan), but I think that his mind isn’t in the right place the last 2-3 seasons. I think that he should have more confidence in his team. McLaren are a fantastic team, and Lewis should remain there as long as is possible.

I think that Red Bull is great team, but I don’t consider them to be as competitive in, say, next 3-4 years. By that time Mercedes will be a strong team with, I suppose, Vettel in their ranks.

So Lewis should focus on delivering in Silverstone, and help the team to make a beast for 2012. At the moment he needs to look at Button and learn a few things from him. Or maybe Lewis needs a situation like Button had in 2008 (quote: “With these new updates we should be able to fight for 14”), to make him see things from a different perspective…

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