Formula 1 | Horner: Not signing Hamilton from Red Bull backfired

Horner: Not signing Hamilton (...)

‘We had a number of conversations’… it is with these words that Christian Horner reveals that Lewis Hamilton could have joined Red Bull if he had agreed to an association with Sebastian Vettel at the time.

Admittedly, it would be hard to imagine Lewis Hamilton today at Red Bull, but the team boss claims the seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been pushing hard for the move during Red’s dominating era. Bull at the beginning of the previous decade.

“Lewis and I have had a number of conversations over the years. From 2010 to 2013 he was very interested in driving for Red Bull. ‘wouldn’t have made sense to have two alpha pilots,’ says Horner.

This will please Mark Webber, then teammate of Vettel.

When Hamilton finally moved from McLaren to Mercedes F1 at the end of 2012, the Red Bull team boss was « initially delighted » because he ‘didn’t see Mercedes as a major threat’ and he suspected Hamilton would not be able to exploit his skills there as he did at McLaren.

« Niki Lauda was at Mercedes and really wanted Lewis and I remember encouraging him to take it. We were fighting McLaren and in 2012 they had the fastest car and we thought Lewis would be a bigger threat in a McLaren than in a Mercedes. »

« So I encouraged Niki to spend the money because Lewis’ performance was also fluctuating a bit. I think it’s fair to say it backfired on me, » agrees Horner as Hamilton has won six championships drivers from 2014, while Mercedes is still undefeated in the constructors’ championship since the start of the hybrid era.

Horner admits to having « long regretted not having signed with Hamilton ». But the fact that it was Max Verstappen who was able to break years of Mercedes dominance makes Horner all the happier.

« The sense of accomplishment of beating this mighty machine that is Mercedes with Lewis on board was huge. The whole organization is getting used to winning and it’s like a drug. It’s addicting. And then there’s the fear of failure. It motivates you because you want to feel that feeling again and again. »

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