Ecclestone reveals attempts to broker Hamilton move to Red Bull
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Mar 2013   |  2:03 am GMT  |  102 comments

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he attempted last summer to broker a move for Lewis Hamilton to form a superteam with Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull, but that it foundered on Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s loyalty to Mark Webber.

“Sebastian wouldn’t have cared if Lewis had signed for the team,’ Ecclestone told the Mail on Sunday. “Dietrich is a very honest, straightforward guy and told Mark the door was open for him to stay. That was good of him.”

Webber at the time was considering an offer from Ferrari to partner his friend Fernando Alonso, but in the end the Australian re-signed for Red Bull and then won the British Grand Prix.

At that point Ecclestone says that he advised Hamilton to go to Mercedes. And with his long time ally Niki Lauda gaining influence within Mercedes the deal was soon brokered, “Lewis rolled his eyes … but I told him that he had nothing to lose as he wanted out of McLaren,” Ecclestone told the Mail on Sunday.

Ecclestone has long had an influence on major driver moves as he moves the pieces on his chessboard to produce the strongest outcomes and there are many examples; from Michael Schumacher’s 1996 move to Ferrari to the continuation of Riccardo Patrese’s career after Williams with a move to Benetton for 1993, which caught Martin Brundle out after a competitive season alongside a young Schumacher.

He also played a significant role in Ferrari hiring Jean Todt, who was then motorsport boss of Peugeot, which was the beginning of the renaissance that won the team’s first world titles for over 20 years and led to a period of unprecedented domination of F1.

Ecclestone is not in Malaysia this weekend. China will be his first appearance of 2013.

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hamilton has denied it, suggesting that those comments are sinply attempts to improve vettels profile. vettel is the only person to develop his own profile. he has done so by nicking his teammates points. if he was as brave or as confident in his abilities as ecclestones comments suggests, he would not go about nicking webbers points the way he did under team orders.

he either agreed in secret with the managers before the race or he knew the managers wouldn’t go against him.

vettel didn’t want hamilton at red bull because he knows hamilton will simply show him up.


Red Bull were at the top of their game when Hamilton approached them, as they are now. What could hiring Hamilton (or anyone else) possibly add to their success?


assuming the daily mail is not making up stories. they claimed beanie told them that hamilton was willing to sit out if he couldn’t get a seat and hamilton said he doesn’t remember and that may be ecclestone’s memory was better than his.

Mike from Colombia

While Bernie is the mood for spilling the beans….could you please tell us what really caused the Senna crash ?


Is that “Jenson” that’s written on Lewis’ cap??


So, Vettel would accept to pair anyone, while Alonso doesn’t.

It says a lot.


Too bad there is not much credibility in whatever Vettel say 🙂


So much for Lewis’ desire to go to a weaker team to “build them up.” He didn’t want to go there in the first place. This reveals 2 things, Lewis didn’t tell the truth when he signed for Mercedes, and McLaren isn’t a place where a top driver wants to be. Quite revealing…


That was from EARLY 2011.. mercedes was not really an option back then.


Clearly Red Bull want to hold on to mark until he retires. They won’t want him taking any red bull secrets to Ferrari – it’s better for them to pay him until he goes out of F1.

Why pay Hamilton ten times as much as mark when webber will always score points and not really destabilise the lead driver too often? Besides webber does go well at ‘old school’ tracks that tend to be sebs slightly weaker spot.


I don’t believe one iota of Bernie’s reasons for RBR not signing Lewis. Loyalty to Webber? In this cut-throat sport? Come on, you have to be really naive to believe this. I believe what Horner said, that partnership wouldn’t work and Vettel would need be ‘protected’ (see Webber’s comments from today).


Bernie has always done this though? Why are people so shocked and outraged?

He was involved in 1992 in the 3 into 2 scenario and tried to get Mansell to unretire. He also worked hard to get Hill a seat at the end of 1996 and 1997 with Mclaren.

I’m sure there are other examples too!


Doesn’t it go to show that Vet not caring who signs for the team that he feels no threat.

Dr Helmut will always look after the wonderboy.


Assuming that Ecclestone’s comments have some relation to the truth (a big assumption I admit), then what conclusions can we draw?

I don’t have much faith in the “loyalty to Mark Webber” theory. If Red Bull believe that they have a car fast enough to win races, then the current pairing have proved that one or other will win the drivers’ championship and take the constructors’ title too. Why would Red Bull’s management think that introducing a new and “high maintenance” driver improve their prospects?

It would be Vettel who should be worried about these revelations. My conclusion is that Ecclestone does not want Vettel to win another championship (either by beating him with a strong teammate or destablising the team). If this tactic didn’t work, what will Ecclestone attempt if Vettel establishes a lead?



You might be right about Bernie tiring of the string of Vettel WDC’s. Could be that he got sick of Vettels cockiness, jibes at the FIA, swearwords on the podium etc. Those things would make more money for Bernie and he might consider them very unsuitable for the image of F1.

Perhaps he wanted to teach him a lesson with a team mate that the paddock believes is the fastest in F1, who’s well mannered and who can pull in the crowds.

What better way to draw in advert/TV money than to have a charismatic F1 champ thats also rather good on the eye of the ladies?


Bernie really needs to keep away from meddling with the teams. The things he says and does with F1 can be quite embarrassing.


Lewis destroyed his tires, burn too much fuel, Rosberg overall was better, but Ross decided otherwise


This is why I hate Hamilton!!!!! The same like Vettel, he needs team to “protect” the star!!!


Hamilton and Vettel in the same team would have been the same result as Hamilton and Alonso at McLaren … only Lewis may have ended up moving on this time!


Hilarious scene. Hamilton went to pit at McLaren!!!!!!



The way I see it is that you have several “myths” trying to establish themselves in the f1 history books. The SV-RBR unbeatable combination ending in the former being finaly established as one of the greats. The ALO-Ferrari combo trying for the same thing. The HAM-Merc deal is trying to do an SV-RBR thing from 2014 and Macca left to show that they just have the supreme machinery to push a medium driver at the top. These efforts on so many levels have the pottential of bringing a lot of money (viewers – sponsors). A HAM-SV combo would have resulted in what? A two man battle which would benefit only one team and not the sport in the long run. That’s why I think BE did not try his best in that scenario to happen.


Wow, there’s lot more to Lewis’ move than meets. I see a case of irreconcilable differences between Lewis and McLaren long before the move.

Somebody make a MOVIE please……


Could be.. Although I just think Lewis knows that RB is the place be if you want a car capable of winning the championship. That’s all the drivers ask for and they will do a lot to get in such a car.

Val from montreal

This story is also on A*t* and its spinning it totally from whats written here on JAonF1 …, Ecclostone said that Hamilton pleaded with him to engineer a deal to move to Red Bull ..Hollywood asked Bernie for assistance in securing a seat at RB next to Vettel ..apparently at the 2011 canadian gp , Hollywood made a secret approach to Christian Horner asking for a deal …

With the door shut at Red Bull , thats when Bernie suggested Hollywood switch to Brackley ..,

Craig in Manila

Not sure that I believe the “loyalty to Mark” part.

I’d suggest that RBR figured that they really had no need to add the cost and potential “issues” of having two top-level drivers in the same team. I mean, why bother when there was no need ?

It is however interesting that, according to Bernie, Lewis had basically no desire to go to Mercedes and had to be convinced to go that direction.

Wonder if Lewis or Merc will make any comment on that part. Only if someone asks them I spose.


Everybody knows that Lewis did not want to take off to Mercedes and that Lauda played a big part in convincing him. Nothing really new here..


I didn’t read it as, “No way, that’s Webber’s seat.” I read it as Webber being given priority , and if he chose to leave then there’d have been a seat to fill. But he signed for another year, and they’re happy to have him. And why not? Three WCCs in a row wasn’t all Vettel’s work, and while he hasn’t really stood up to Vettel the last couple of years in the WDC fight, he’s winning races and scoring decent points, and is supposedly a great asset in terms of the feedback he provides.


what a lot of people have missed is that, in this instance, the ringmaster BE, wasn’t able to get hamilton a ride in a red bull. so much for his influence at all times!.


How the teams put up with Bernie makes me scratch my head.

Commercial rights holder my rear end.

The teams have much power over F1 and I must say as big a business as it is the way money is distributed to the teams is pretty old school and is starting to hurt the sport.

American Football can teach F1 a few lessons on how to maximise team revenues from the TV contract. The back marker teams should all be getting a slice of the pie as well. Really the TV and all revenues for that matter should be split between the teams with a small amount of money going to F1 itself. I imagine this is how soccer is done as well in Europe.

In just a few months of really learning about the sport I see how Bernie and good ole Max at the FIA have pillaged this sport.

I have no problem with people making money, the FIA thing is a different animal all together. That should be truly non profit and minimal salaries paid out all around.

Off my soap box I guess, but man I scratch my head as I learn about some things like Sena, and Bernie and the favoritism showed to Ferrari. To me it seems like these things are all hurtful to the sport.


Whole thing would be dead now, while teams and various stakeholder were fighting for control.


Spot on.

I can’t wait for the day to see Bernie go.


Intriguing article. James, why do you think Bernie has put this out there now? Because he can? Because he isn’t out there and wants to remind people who is in charge? To put the boot into McLaren while they are down?


This is also what sparked my interest. I think Bernie is just reminding everybody how central he is to the sport.


Maybe because he isn’t in Malaysia this weekend, so just to have something out there


Bernie’s a master of spin!


Interesting, but it is always about the show for Bernie. In the interest of the sport. I get that.

Wonder how long before he tries to broker a deal for Vettel to go to Ferrari, if it’s not already done.


Well Vettel digs competition, that is why he would not mind Hamilton coming along. Although some seem to think Lewis would come in and win everything hands down, some need to remember the same was said when Jensen went to Macca and it didn’t pan out that way. After Hamilton settled in, I think you’d have wins going both ways. Vettel has the cooler head, and Hamilton the aggressive edge, so their differing champion styles would be fun to watch. They have both admitted to being explosive though, so it might end up being a firecracker that’s too hot to handle.


Marcus,you are blessed with common sense!

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