Red Bull claim Lewis Hamilton ‘authorised’ contract talks with them

Christian Horner revealed ahead of the 2023 Abu Dhabi GP that Lewis Hamilton approached Red Bull over a possible move.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has added further fuel to the rumours of Lewis Hamilton approaching the Austrians, something which was sparked by Christian Horner ahead of this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

On Wednesday, Horner revealed to the Daily Mail that a representative of Hamilton’s had approached him, regarding a possible move to Red Bull.

Horner later confirmed that the individual was Hamilton’s father, Anthony, who hasn’t been part of the Mercedes driver’s team since 2010.

The seven-time World Champion has insisted that he never enquired about a move to Red Bull and simply texted Horner a while ago to congratulate him on a great season.

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Marko, though, has since shared that the message from the ‘representative’ appeared to be “authorised” by Hamilton.

According to the 80-year-old, Hamilton wanted to make a move to the Milton Keynes-based team happen under one condition, he was given the “same material” as Max Verstappen.

In Marko’s eyes, the request from the 38-year-old’s team was “serious”.

“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. “It seemed authorised by the driver.

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“There was talk of a condition that Hamilton set: He only wanted to drive for Red Bull if he also got the same material as Max Verstappen.

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

The rumour was a huge talking point during the pre-weekend drivers’ press conference, with both Verstappen and Hamilton having been asked about Horner’s comments.

The three-time World Champion stressed that having himself and Hamilton in the same team would “never work”, something Marko agreed with as the Austrians would never be able to afford the “two most expensive F1 drivers combined”.

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“There was never any consideration of letting Hamilton drive alongside Verstappen,” Marko added.

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

“Thirdly, the most important point: Red Bull cannot afford the two most expensive F1 drivers combined. But I can understand that a driver like Hamilton wants to drive in a team that promises the greatest success.”