Helmut Marko has revealed team principal Christian Horner almost left Red Bull to join rivals Ferrari at the start of 2023.
In what would have been a big blow to the reigning champions, the Red Bull adviser also said their technical genius Adrian Newey could have departed for Maranello if Horner had done so.
Ferrari had thought of lining up Horner to replace Mattia Binotto, who left at the end of the 2022 campaign, having failed to restore the Scuderia to Formula 1 glory but elected to take Frederic Vasseur from Alfa Romeo Sauber.
“It took a whole night of conversation,” Marko said to media. “And a few millions to convince Horner to stay at Red Bull and abandon the idea of going to Ferrari.”
As the highest three salary earners are excluded from the budget cap, Horner’s salary increase did not affect the team’s ability to develop their car.
And for Newey, Red Bull managed to retain the genius behind their 2022 and 2023 machines, despite his admiration for Ferrari.
Newey recently said he had been close to joining F1’s famous red team on two occasions, in 1993 and in 1997, but elected to remain in the UK as he did not want to uproot his family to relocate to Italy.
The loyalty to Red Bull was once again tested in 2023 as Mercedes attempted to poach Newey but he elected to remain with the current championship leaders.
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
With the F1 circus finished in Spain, the next race is the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix which will be held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal over the weekend of June 16-18.