x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Vettel and Hamilton pairing would not work at Red Bull

Christian Horner, the Red Bull Racing team principal, quashes speculation of Lewis Hamilton joining Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton, right, passes Sebastian Vettel to win the Chinese Grand Prix. Christian Horner, the team principle, says he would have
Lewis Hamilton, right, passes Sebastian Vettel to win the Chinese Grand Prix. Christian Horner, the team principle, says he would have "severe reservations" of Hamilton joining Red Bull if he were to leave McLaren.

Christian Horner, the Red Bull Racing team principal, does not believe a Sebastian Vettel/Lewis Hamilton partnership would work at his team.

Ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix, the future of the McLaren-Mercedes driver Hamilton's has become a major source of conversation — an unwanted distraction he could do without in his bid to conjure a much-needed victory.

The fact, however, he met with Horner in the paddock following the qualifying session for last month's Canadian Grand Prix has sparked the interest.

Fuel has also been added to the fire with the revelation Hamilton has a get-out clause in his contract with McLaren that could see him leave at the end of the year.

The likely destination would seem to be Red Bull - but not according to Horner, who has poured cold water on the prospect of such a move.

"I think it would be difficult to envisage a driver of Sebastian's calibre and that of Lewis under the same roof," Horner told Press Association Sport. "Lewis is a wonderful driver, and you can understand why he might want to drive a Red Bull. It's obvious.

"But would it be the best thing for us? We have severe reservations it would be."

Horner, who earlier this year the signed current world champion Vettel to a deal through to the end of 2014, feels there could be friction between the two.

"On paper a Vettel-Hamilton line-up would be hugely attractive," added Horner. "But you have to look at the reality at how these things work, and history dictates that two world-class drivers in the same team has not always been the best pairing.

"You only have to think of Senna-Prost, Piquet-Mansell, or even Alonso and Hamilton. We are hugely happy to have Sebastian committed to the team long term, and with Mark [Webber], we're very pleased with the job he is doing.

"Our focus at present is on those two drivers rather than looking to change anything."

Red Bull's designer Adrian Newey, meanwhile, fears Red Bull's significant leads in both championships could be eroded following the latest rule change.

From this weekend's race, off-throttle blown diffusers — a system that generates downforce and in turn assists performance — have been banned.

As the team that pioneered the device, Newey is unafraid to suggest Vettel's 77-point cushion in the drivers' standings, and Red Bull's 89-point lead in the constructors', may yet be overturned.

"We'll be quite heavily affected because our car was designed around the exhaust," said Newey. "Everybody else has, generally speaking, copied somebody else's principle — mainly ours — and adapted it to the car they had in pre-season.

"So it might be that because our car has been designed around it, it's going to be more of a hit for us, but it's very difficult to forecast.

"Right now we're less than half the way through the championship [11 races remaining].

"So if somebody has the finish to the year as we've had the start to, then they could easily overtake us. We certainly can't take anything as read."