Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso ‘both told no’ as Red Bull theory quashed

Oliver Harden
A close-up shot of Lewis Hamilton and insets of Fernando Alonso and a Red Bull logo

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso both reportedly had approaches to join Red Bull rejected

Red Bull rejected approaches from Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso before the World Champions committed their F1 futures to Ferrari and Aston Martin respectively.

That is the astonishing claim made by respected F1 reporter Mark Hughes, who has quashed a fan theory that Hamilton and Alonso – as well as Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris – were offered a seat alongside Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso saw Red Bull approaches rejected

Hamilton rocked the F1 world in February by announcing that he will end his long and successful association with Mercedes at the end of this year, having signed a multi-year contract to join Ferrari from 2025.

The confirmation of Hamilton’s shock switch to Ferrari came just five months after he signed a new two-year contract to remain with Mercedes, with the seven-time World Champion activating a break clause in his new deal to join the Scuderia.

It was claimed ahead of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that Hamilton had approached Red Bull over a potential seat while assessing his options, with team principal Christian Horner revealing Hamilton’s father Anthony had made direct contact with him.

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Horner stressed, however, that the team had not held “any serious discussions” with Hamilton, insisting “there was never a seat available.”

Alonso, meanwhile, announced on Thursday that he will remain at Aston Martin until at least the end of the 2026 season, taking him past his 45th birthday.

The decision to remain with Aston Martin came after reports claimed Alonso was “pushing very hard” for a 2025 Red Bull seat amid the uncertainty surrounding Verstappen’s future with the team.

Writing in response to a fan’s tweet claiming Hamilton, Alonso, Leclerc and Norris have all turned down a Red Bull seat within the last 12 months, Hughes responded: “That’s just plain untrue.

“Neither Leclerc, Hamilton nor Alonso were offered a place. Hamilton and Alonso both tried and were told no.”

A notable omission from Hughes’ tweet was the name of Norris, who was heavily linked with a switch to Red Bull before signing a new multi-year deal with McLaren in January.

Speaking after his new contract was announced, Norris rejected the notion that he was running scared of Verstappen, the winner of 47 of the last 70 races stretching back to the start of his maiden title-winning season in 2021, by deciding against pursuing an option to join Red Bull.

Asked if he was fearful of taking on Verstappen in equal cars, he told Sky Sports: “I think it’s a longer discussion than just saying that.

“Is Max one of the best drivers ever in Formula 1? Absolutely. I think he’s proved that enough.

“He’s in a team which he’s very comfortable in, a lot of things are built around him, so for anyone – even the Max of a few years ago – to go in against the Max of now is extremely difficult.

“So I don’t think it’s a question of: are you scared or not scared? I don’t think I’d ever be scared of going up against anyone.

“But even if you enter a team, are you in a position to challenge someone straight away? And are you comfortable to do that?

“And I think it’s a ‘no’ – for any driver. It takes time to adapt and takes time to get into place.

“And if you want to go against the best driver in the world, it’s not the best thing to do. It’s not a smart move to do.

“But I would love to race against Max. I’ve enjoyed some of our battles that we’ve had and I’m looking even more forward to the battles that we’re going to have this year.”

Asked if he had held talks with other teams before committing to McLaren, Norris added: “There’s always discussions every now and then.

“I’m not going to lie and say no, there’s always little discussions and you talk to people and see ‘what could you offer’ kind of thing, but it never went further than that.”

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