Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko said team principal Christian Horner showed him the Lewis Hamilton-linked text message, and made it clear him partnering Max Verstappen would never work on cost or relationship grounds.
As F1 2023 approached its conclusion, Horner made the bombshell claim that Hamilton’s management had been in touch over the possibility to drive for Red Bull, the team which dominated the campaign with 21 grand prix wins collected out of a possible 22.
Horner claimed that the contact came from Hamilton’s father Anthony, though the seven-time World Champion denied this, accusing Horner of “stirring”.
Cost and tension rules out Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen dream team
Hamilton earlier in the season committed to a new Mercedes contract, signing fresh terms with the team with whom he was won six World Championship titles to take him to the end of 2025.
Verstappen though has had the title scene on lockdown since 2021 as Hamilton and Mercedes search for a breakthrough to return to title-contending ways.
Ever since their epic 2021 Championship battle, the potential of a Verstappen and Hamilton dream team at Red Bull has been longed for by many fans, but Marko said that as soon as Horner showed him the messages sounding out a Hamilton to Red Bull move, he made it clear that could not happen.
On top of the “tension” which exists between the drivers, Marko said Red Bull could not afford to have the two highest-paid F1 stars in their line-up.
“Christian informed me and showed me the text message he received, but I told him: ‘Hamilton and Max, that doesn’t work,'” said Marko, as per Motorsport.com.
“There was too much action and how should I say, in 2021, tension. And on the other hand, we cannot afford to have the two most expensive drivers in one team.
“It’s just never going to happen. So I told Christian: ‘No way.’”
As Verstappen goes in search of a fourth World Championship in F1 2024, while Red Bull look to maintain their stranglehold on the Constructors’ title, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is promising a concept change for the W15, one to create a “more conventional” challenger, sparking the possibility of a more Red Bull-esque design.