‘Authorised by the driver’ – Helmut Marko stands by Red Bull’s Lewis Hamilton claims

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton

Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton shake hands at the end of the 2023 Mexican Grand Prix.

Helmut Marko firmly believes Lewis Hamilton authorised his team, that person reportedly his father, to contact Red Bull with the driver even setting out a condition for the “same” car as Max Verstappen.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner courted controversy earlier week when he told the Daily Mail that Hamilton’s people had contacted Red Bull prior to the Briton re-signing with Mercedes.

“We have had several conversations over the years about Lewis joining,” Horner said. “They have reached out a few times.

‘There was talk of a condition that Hamilton set’

“Most recently, earlier in the year, there was an inquiry about whether there would be any interest.”

This was vehemently denied by Hamilton and his team boss Toto Wolff, the latter claiming it was Horner who reached out to Hamilton’s team.

“I just don’t know what drives the guy [Horner],” he told select media including PlanetF1.com in Abu Dhabi. “We don’t understand his thinking to come up with these things.

“What happened is that Christian, 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.”

Red Bull, however, have insisted it was the other way around with the BBC claiming that a Red Bull spokesperson let slip that it was Hamilton’s father Anthony who had initiated contact with Horner.

And Marko believes it was “authorised” by the driver as the person who approached Red Bull even had a condition.

“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.com.

“It seemed authorised by the driver, especially because there was talk of a condition that Hamilton set. He only wanted to drive for Red Bull if he got the same material as Max Verstappen.

“For me at least there was no doubt that the request from the Hamilton side was serious.”

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Helmut Marko: Red Bull ‘never’ gave consideration to signing Hamilton

Red Bull, though, weren’t open to signing Hamilton as Max Verstappen’s team-mate.

According to Marko the main two reasons for that were financial and not wanting two “alphas” under one roof.

“There were never any considerations about letting Hamilton drive alongside Verstappen,” he explained.

“Firstly, we are well positioned with our driver squad including Sergio Perez. Second, these two alphas wouldn’t work on a team.

“And thirdly, the most important point, Red Bull cannot afford the two most expensive Formula 1 drivers together.

“But I can understand that a driver like Hamilton wants to drive in a team that promises the greatest success.”

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