Horner details contact with Hamilton’s dad but denies ‘serious discussion’ over Red Bull move
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has expanded on comments he made about Lewis Hamilton which were published in the build-up to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, stating he received an approach from the driver’s father, Anthony, but that any talks were never “serious”.
Heading into this weekend’s season finale, a report surfaced in which Horner claimed that a member of Hamilton’s representatives had contacted him about potentially driving for Red Bull in 2024.
Hamilton, who signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes in September, was quick to deny Horner’s claims and made clear that “no one from my team has reached out to him”, aside from a brief text exchange between the pair.
Asked to clarify the situation in the wake of the headlines generated by his initial remarks and Hamilton’s denial, Horner offered a follow-up during Friday’s Team Principals’ press conference at the Yas Marina Circuit.
“It’s remarkable how much traction this has got,” said Horner. “It’s a question of he said, she said, who said, what said. It’s entirely normal for drivers, drivers’ representatives, drivers’ parents to have different conversations during the course of a year.
“We haven’t had any serious discussion with Lewis, there was never a seat available. I’ve known Anthony Hamilton for many years, he’s a good guy, a proud racing father.
“Inevitably, when drivers go through tough spots – let’s face it, Lewis hasn’t won a Grand Prix two years – questions will be asked up and down the paddock. There was never any engagement.
“I don’t know who represents who or what, but with the same surname you would think they were reasonably close. It’s difficult to say, but other than pleasantries, there was no specific, ‘Can I drive for Red Bull next year?’, unless Anthony wanted to drive.
“As I say, that’s not unusual, there’s many drivers, as you can imagine, that we hear from during the course of a year.”
Asked if he thinks Mercedes would be surprised to hear that Hamilton’s father was in contact with Red Bull, Horner added: “Not really. He’s the most successful driver of all time and hasn’t won a Grand Prix since 2021. You haven’t got to be a rocket scientist to work that out.
“I doubt that I was only one that there was an enquiry made to. What the dynamics are within any given relationship, I don’t know, I’m not privy to that, but inevitably there are questions going to be asked.”
He signed off: “There’s not really much more to say. A lot has been made out of something fairly innocuous.”