Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has added more to the story of Lewis Hamilton‘s potential move to team up with world champion Max Verstappen and revealed that there was one condition the Brit wanted if we were to join the Austrian team.
The news comes after Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner claimed he was contacted by the 103-time race winner in January as Hamilton considered his options concerning his future in F1.
Now, Marko is the latest figure to talk about the hot topic of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix so far adding that all Hamilton wanted was an equal car in order to go head-to-head with Formula 1’s runaway championship winner, Verstappen.
“I can only say that Christian Horner told me in January about a text message he received from Hamilton‘s entourage,” Marko said to F1 Insider. “It seemed authorized by the driver.
“There was talk of a condition that Hamilton set: He only wanted to drive for Red Bull if he also got the same material as Max Verstappen. For me, at least, there was no doubt that the request from the Hamilton side was serious.”
Red Bull not interested
It would have made a mouth-watering driver line-up that would have immediately reignited their iconic rivalry from 2021, with two top-level drivers going at it toe-to-toe within the same team.
But according to the Austrian camp, they never intended to sign the seven-time world champion. They already enjoy a successful team dynamic after securing a one-two finish in the drivers’ championship, whilst locking down the constructors’ championship with six rounds to go.
“There was never any consideration of letting Hamilton drive alongside Verstappen,” Marko added. “Firstly, we are well positioned with our driver line-up including Sergio Perez. Second, these two alphas wouldn’t work in a team.
“Thirdly, the most important point: Red Bull cannot afford the two most expensive F1 drivers combined. But I can understand that a driver like Hamilton wants to drive in a team that promises the greatest success.”
Wolff slams Horner’s revelations
It’s something that both Hamilton and Mercedes’ team principal, Toto Wolff, have both strongly denied with the latter questioning Horner’s reasons for bringing it up.
He also took the chance to flip the rumour on its head and claim that it was actually Horner reaching out to Hamilton, not the other way around.
“I just don’t know what drives the guy [Horner],” Wolff said to media. “”We don’t understand his thinking to come up with these things.
“What happened is that Christian [Horner], through an agency that we work with, wanted to have his contact details to speak about the seat. That’s how the whole thing went, [it] was Christian inquiring into his availability.
“Lewis had an exchange with Christian, which he immediately told me about, which was not about a seat, but it was just… blah. I’ve seen it. So, I don’t know what drives him to come out with this.”
He further claimed that his British peer should take some notes on how to handle success, calling on him to be gracious in victory instead of rehashing old wounds and rivalries of days gone by.
“You’ve won the season,” Wolff added. “Be happy about it, [be] humble. Enjoy it. Don’t make comments about Abu Dhabi 2021, which are completely off the mark… I just wonder what’s going on up there.”