Christian Horner has doubled down on his claims that Lewis Hamilton’s representatives contacted him to explore a move to Red Bull, saying Hamilton’s father enquired about Sergio Perez’s seat this year.
Horner made headlines earlier this week when he said members of Hamilton’s team “reached out” about a potential switch prior to the 38-year-old renewing his contract with Mercedes in August.
The Red Bull team principal also claimed to have been aware of talks between Hamilton and Ferrari, but the seven-time world champion questioned Horner’s version of events on Thursday.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton said nobody from his team had approached Red Bull regarding a move, alleging it was Horner who tried to get in contact with him.
Those claims were put to Horner at Friday’s Abu Dhabi practice session, and the Red Bull boss is sticking to his version of events, saying Hamilton’s father Anthony asked about the prospect of his son taking Perez’s seat to team up with Max Verstappen.
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“It’s amazing the fuss that’s come out of this,” Horner said. “It’s not unusual for there to be an exchange.
“I’ve known Anthony Hamilton for 15 or 16 years, so inevitably there’s often an exchange during the course of the season. There’s quite a lot that seems to have been read into this.
“I had an exchange. Anthony’s a nice guy. He reached out, I think, I can’t remember, regarding Sergio, and just asked an enquiring and suggestive question.
“I don’t know what role Anthony plays in Lewis’ setup or management, but he’s got some form of relationship. I don’t think he was enquiring about himself to come and drive.”
Welcome back LH 🤜🤛 pic.twitter.com/x1OqgrkJQ8
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 24, 2023
Horner also reiterated his confidence in Red Bull’s current pairing as the team target a 21st win in 22 races to cap the 2023 season, saying: “We’re very happy with the drivers that we’ve got.
“But of course, Lewis hasn’t won a race for almost two years. You can understand questions being asked, it’s entirely logical and normal for those type of things to happen.
“As I say, I’ve always had a great relationship with Anthony, he’s a very nice guy, but there is no seat available so it’s really a non-story.”
Horner’s claims have also been disputed by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who told Speedcafe: “I just don’t know what drives the guy. We just don’t understand his thinking to come up with these things.
“What happened is that Christian, through an agency that we work with, wanted to have Lewis’ contact details to speak about the seat. That’s how the whole thing went.
“It was Christian enquiring about Lewis’ availability. Lewis had an exchange with Christian, which he immediately told me about, and which was not about a seat. I don’t know what drives him to come out with this.”
Abu Dhabi. One last dance in 2023! 🤩🖤
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 23, 2023