Horner plays down Red Bull-Hamilton connection

F1 Fanatic round-up

Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Barcelona, 2012

Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Barcelona, 2012

In the round-up: Christian Horner says it’s “difficult to envisage” Lewis Hamilton joining Red Bull.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Red Bull deny Hamilton interest (Daily Telegraph)

??I think that it’s difficult to envisage Lewis in our team. I think he?s comfortable in the environment he is in and we?re certainly comfortable with the two drivers we have.”

Finally back to racing! (Ferrari)

Fernando Alonso: “We definitely still need to improve a lot, working on our understanding of the F2012, adapting my driving style to a new car which, with the loss of aerodynamic downforce at the rear and the new Pirelli tyres, is a bit harder to drive. We know in which direction we need to go in terms of car development and that?s an important step.”

Marussia backs budget cap revival (Autosport)

Graeme Lowdon: “If this is the international championship of spending, then most teams are not equipped to excel in that field, and it is not clever ?ǣ nor very relevant to the business world our sponsors live in. So anything that promotes cost control is a good thing.”

Pit lane to football pitch: Fernandes’ plans for sporting success (CNN)

“I think [Vitaly Petrov] is as good a driver as Trulli, but he obviously brings a Russian commercial element.”

F1 2012: can anyone end Sebastian Vettel’s grip? (The Guardian)

“If the secret of sustained success in Formula One is creating the right combination of designer and driver, then what we are witnessing is a phenomenon to match that of Jim Clark and Colin Chapman, whose professional relationship in the 1960s established a standard to which all their successors aspire.”

Vijay Mallya pumps in $32 million into Force India (NDTV)

“Sahara Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has pumped in $32 million into his Formula One team ahead of the season opener in Melbourne on Sunday.”

Analysis: Force India VJM05 (Scarbs F1)

“By keeping the radiators and sidepod volume high and narrow, the resulting undercut in the sidepods flank creates the double floor effect and allows more airflow to pass directly over the top of the diffuser. Unlike Toro Rosso?s rounded interpretation of the undercut sidepod, FIF1?s has much flatter sides, particularly in the coke bottle region near the exhausts; the sidepod shape is particularly slim.”

Marussia not worried about KERS – Glock (ESPN)

“We have said that our focus is right to first get rid of the four seconds of aerodynamic deficit, before we worry about the money and the manpower we need for five tenths with the KERS.”

Labor MP Kelvin Thomson takes a swipe at Bernie Ecclestone’s ??billionaire bogan’ daughter, Tamara (Herald Sun)

“One thing I am absolutely sure of – there are better ways to spend $50 million, year in and year out, than bankrolling Bernie’s billionaire bogan.”

Comment of the day

Which of the McLaren drivers will do best this year is a subject that divided F1 Fanatic readers right down the middle yesterday.

Some tipped Hamilton to bounce back:

He had a tough season in 2011, but I expect him to return to form and edge out Button.

If he?s on form more often than not, then he should beat Button convincingly. Hamilton has better raw speed in my opinion.

Others reckon Button will exert superiority again:

Button has the upper hand here. I very much doubt that Hamilton?s cleared his head yet, and we all know that speed is no longer everything.

He?s confident, does well on new tyres, never make mistakes… Hamilton will probably improve from catastrophic last season, but that won?t be good enough to beat Button.

What do you think? You can cast your vote on them and all the other drivers here:

From the forum

Site updates

Updates are still being applied to the site to fix display problems arising from the recent redesign. You can find details on the latest modifications here.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Patrickl and chapmankillie!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Fernando Alonso won his first race for Ferrari two years ago today in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel led much of the way before suffering an exhaust failure.

Image ?? Jamey Price/F1 Fanatic

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66 comments on Horner plays down Red Bull-Hamilton connection

  1. celeste (@celeste) said on 14th March 2012, 0:21

    And the big question for this race has been jus answered:

    What´s the name of Seb´s car? is Abbey, as Abbey Road…

  2. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 14th March 2012, 0:32

    Haha! Great to see an Australian word in the round-up! If all of that is true, I think it’s a terrible waste. How could someone possibly actually want all of that? Wouldn’t you feel guilty? It makes me feel sick. This MP’s comment was a little harsh though!

  3. hey (@hey) said on 14th March 2012, 0:54


    And not forgetting forgetting the world’s fastest formula one car (small-scale category)

    • PT (@pt) said on 15th March 2012, 9:17

      Thanks for the very informative link mate. Truly impressive, and they’ve got great attention to detail too though it looks more like a Champ Car (CART) than an F1 car. But it is impressive nevertheless.

      I really love tidbits of information like these.

  4. OOliver said on 14th March 2012, 2:11

    Marussia flatter themselves by calling it a four second deficit. Except they just mean the front of the midfield. With all cars running on the same tyres and fuel mode, the gap was a lot greater.
    With the ban on the EBD, they have automatically clawed back over a second.
    I don’t know if they will have the pace to bother Caterham, although their car looks like it will be fast in a straight line.

  5. sam3110 (@sam3110) said on 14th March 2012, 2:39

    @KeithCollantine, not sure if it has been mentioned yet, but Fernando Alonso is now officially on twitter as @alo_oficial

  6. Solo (@solo) said on 14th March 2012, 3:59

    Something is wrong with the Ferrari link.

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 14th March 2012, 4:52

    “I think that it’s difficult to envisage Lewis in our team. I think he’s comfortable in the environment he is in and we’re certainly comfortable with the two drivers we have.”

    I don’t think there was ever much to the Hamilton-to-Red Bull stories. I think it was mostly Hamilton’s fans who saw his poor performances and the defecit to Red Bull, and thought that if Hamilton was driving for Red Bull, then all his misery would go away. The tabloids picked it up and ran with it, because they love going for big headlines.

    It’s a bit like the talk of Raikkonen going to Red Bull (anyone noticing a pattern here?) – the fans saw Red Bull’s speed and wanted the best for the driver, and so they convinced themselves that Raikkonen was going to Milton Keynes, even when there was no evidence of it.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 14th March 2012, 5:31

      Or like the talk of Alonso going to Ferrari and Raikkonen coming back to F1.

      Oh wait….

      What I’m saying is, sometimes the talk ends up being right.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 14th March 2012, 6:23

        Sometimes. Not all the time. I see no evidence of Hamilton going to Red Bull; Horner’s comments pretty much confirm that it won’t be happening any time soon. All we know is that Hamilton visited Red Bull after last year’s Canadian Grand Prix. We have no idea why, and no idea what was said. And since nothing has come of it, we will probably never know anything more than that.

        Likewise the talk of Raikkonen going to Red Bull. The theory was that Red Bull sponsored Raikkonen in the WRC in order to “reserve” him for the future, and then arranged to have him drive a Citroen because Citroen is a French manufacturer and a French manufacturer (Renault) powered the Red Bull cars. It was all very, very elaborate, and ignored the fact that, as a former Formula 1 World Champion, Raikkonen would attract a lot of attention in the WRC, and so anyone who sponsored him would automatically get a lot of coverage.

        The difference between Alonso-Ferrari and Raikkonen-Red Bull and Hamilton-Red Bull is that Alonso was actually having a decent season (given what he had to work with) before he switched over. Raikkonen had a very disappointing 2009 season, and Hamilton was all over the place in 2011. But these elaborate theories cooked up by fans all had them somehow miraculously overcoming that and being rewarded for putting up with teams that didn’t appreciate them enough with a phenomenal car and a team that would absolutely commit to them and give them whatever they needed to win the championship and prove their critics wrong (which we know they would never do, given their favouritism of Vettel). It was basically the plot of every single Hollywood sports movie – disgruntled former champion overcomes extreme odds to make an incredible comeback, embarrassing his former team by proving they never should have doubted him in the first place – rolled up into one, which the fans then swallowed because believing it was easier than admitting that their favourite driver was fallible.

        If anything, we should embrace the flaws of our favourite drivers. Having a flaw is what actually makes them human. If they were always perfect, all the time, it would be very, very difficult to relate to them. Just look at Senna, and the way he crashed out of the lead at Monaco. People didn’t like him because he was leading the race. They liked him because he was leading the race, but he was still driving as if he was a lap down. He could have easily done what Prost would have, and coasted to the finish line and an easy win, but he didn’t. Senna had to push harder, had to drive faster. Ultimately, it led to his retirement from the race, but that’s what people respected about him. Marco Simoncelli had it, too; when he crashed in Malaysia last year, any other rider would have let go of the bike – but not Simoncelli. He was sure he could have righted it and kept racing, and he probably would have, too, were it not for the way Edwards and Rossi were right behind him. And that’s why we like racing drivers and riders (or any other sports star, for that matter): they do things that we know that we could not, but at the same time, we like knowing that they aren’t really any different to the rest of us. Formula 1 drivers are ordinary people who can do extraordinary things – they shouldn’t be extraordinary people who are occasionally ordinary.

        And that’s why I don’t like the militant fans and their outlandish theories: they explain away all the faults and the flaws, and elevate their favourite drivers to beings of pure, undistilled talent. They are in such a hurry to leave that talent intact and unblemished that they remove all the humanity from the driver and push him (or her – it’s happened with Danica Patrick) beyond the point of relatability.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th March 2012, 6:57

          Horner’s comments pretty much confirm that it won’t be happening any time soon.

          I don’t agree – it reads like a ‘non-denial denial’ to mine. It has all the wriggle room Horner could want if he decides to hire Hamilton in the future.

          • MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 14th March 2012, 8:38

            The question is why would he. Based on current evidence, Hamilton had an awful 2011, worse than Massa’s in some ways. True he did get some wins but unless Mark has a poor 2012 season as well why would Red Bull change their line-up. Also I got the feeling that they were trying to prep Ricciardo for the race seat that would be vacated by Mark if that ever happened.

        • vjanik said on 14th March 2012, 9:58

          F1 is so closed off that fans have nothing else to do but speculate. We will never have the full picture of what is happening behind the scenes.

          Its always been part of the sport. Some rumors will be true and some wont. i wouldn’t get too riled up about it. Also, I don’t see the connection between speculating about driver moves; and explaining away their faults and flaws.

        • OOliver said on 14th March 2012, 10:42

          Managed to get some wins?!!!!. It is so easy to trivialise 3 wins. The same number as his team mate, 2 more than Alonso, and 3 more than everyone else but Vettel.

          And I agree with you Keith, no team wants the added pressures of any speculations on potential driver signings. Not to say he has definitely made plans to sign Hamilton, but he hasn’t completely shut the door either.

        • Kenny Davies said on 15th March 2012, 10:06

          I dont get how many people see the idea of Lewis at RBR preposterous. In fact, if Red Bull has any marketing nous ( which they have – by far the best of any F1 team), then getting Hamilton into a Red Bull would be a priority and even a necessity for the team.

          Lets look it this way- Red Bull is a drinks company (though this is not a insult as Lewis meant it). The racing part (RBR) only exists to help the parent company advertise the brand, market the style, and subsequently sell as many drinks as possible. This brand is young, energetic and vibrant.
          Lewis Hamilton fits this brand more than any of the current Red Bull drivers. He is young, hip, vibrant, fashionable, and has the star girlfriend to go with it. As good as Seb is, he is not this brand, nor is it Webber by a long shot.
          Hamilton has by far the largest brand appeal of any driver outside of Formula 1; in Europe, Africa and the USA. This is in no small part helped by his association with Nicole Sherzinger – who is the lead singer in one of the biggest girl groups in the world. If approached right, this is a marketer’s dream come true. And lets not forget, he is the young upstart who came into F1 an energized it for a whole new generation of fans, based on the fact that he is the first “black” driver in the formulae – never mind the fact that he didn’t do too badly in his first year.

          Christian Horner is a team principal, Dietrich Mateschitz runs a USD 5 Billion company. Guess whose decision makes the most sense to the company?
          Christian has no desire to upset the very well balanced apple cart he has put in place, but he KNOWS that Lewis is capable of delivering exactly what Seb has delivered to the company in the same machinery – so they are not losing anything. Dietrich knows this too.
          Lewis will go to RBR, but i don’t think Seb will be there when he does – and if he is, that is will be the stuff of wet dreams for Mr Mateschitz – 2 F1 champions. One to sell his brand all over the world the other to appeal to his home fans!

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 14th March 2012, 13:34

      @Prisoner Monkeys…I was sure I heard MB and DC suggesting during a race last year that it might be good for LH and for Mac for them to part ways at some point. So I don’t think this is just about LH fans wanting him in the best car. I think it is a valid concept to consider (LH leaving Mac), and I’m sure will continue to be so if LH doesn’t have a better season this year.

      Horner’s comments, for now, are coming at the cusp of a new season and I think the last thing he would admit to right now is the potential of a WDC like LH to replace MW.

      But I do think that Horner, having said a few years ago when it was still looking like MW was a potential WDC winner that year, that he could see MW winning the WDC then retiring after which SV would be the team’s future. So SV won the WDC instead, and won it again last year convincingly, proving that SV is the team’s future…so is Horner really that anxious to replace MW with a proven WDC? Would be great, and Horner says there is true racing between his drivers….but….

  8. BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2012, 6:46

    Well, happy birthday to @Patrickl, haven’t seen you commenting on here lately. And the same for @chapmankillie

  9. BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2012, 7:03

    That Mallya article is very interesting, as it states that Mallya put in 22 million of the total as sponsorship money from Kingfisher airlines as well as his beer/liquor companies. Wonder how the airline will be able to pay much when its broke and not even paying salaries, another loan?

    • Dev (@dev) said on 14th March 2012, 7:28

      i guess he wants to move out of airlines none of the airlines are making any serious money. fuel prices & taxes remain very high compared to other countries. it’s clear that he will not put more money in the airlines till new laws regarding investments, taxation & fuel price taxes are made reasonable.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2012, 8:31

        Yes, @dev, I can see the reasons for getting out of the airline business fast. But that does not make it any less strange, that a highly indebted airline, sailing on the edge of bankruptcy, is putting in millions in sponsorship money into an F1 team.

        • Tango (@tango) said on 14th March 2012, 10:14

          I don’t see how F1 is a better business than airlines either, especially if you are in the midfield.

        • vjanik said on 14th March 2012, 10:23

          yes. Kingfisher airlines owes $600K to the company I work for. It looks as though we will need to write off this amount to bad debt, and seeing this article made me smile. Looks like a few hundredths of a second is more important to VJ than salaries of his employees or bills with his suppliers. As a fan of F1 i dont really mind. But from a professional standpoint its a bit strange.

          I suspect Kingfisher beer must be making a lot of money.

        • Dev (@dev) said on 14th March 2012, 11:34

          @bascb he is clearly playing a crazy game of poker. since most of the bank which have lent him are owned by the govt. there is a good chance that certain rules will be twisted to make operating airlines a decent business. Honestly i felt that after him buying out Royal Challengers Bangalore there was little point in him sticking to Airline business. He is doing the right thing by not pumping in good money after bad money unless the environment changes for good. Air India which is owned & operated by Govt of India is also bankrupt and gets timely bailouts from govt every now and then. Air India keeps fares so low that anyone one competing will not make operating profits unless accounts are fudged. Even if the Airlines is not making profits 44% of it’s revenue goes as taxes.

          There are many investors who will be ready to put money in Kingfisher Airlines, but only when govt reduces tax burdens on airlines & maintains a stable policy.

  10. Dev (@dev) said on 14th March 2012, 7:07

    Vijay Mallya pumps in $32 million into Force India!!!

    his Kingfisher airlines owes Bank of Scotland $25 million. clearly he has money but does not want to support his airline…

  11. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 14th March 2012, 7:17

    Abbey’s Step Sister.

  12. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 14th March 2012, 7:22

    Ah, Joe. Joe, Joe, Joe. I just can’t help myself but point this out:

    I will now leave you for 24 hours in the unsafe hands of the “F1 media” that would get lost trying to find the average racing circuit. Beware of stories suggesting Michael Schumacher will win the World Championship; or that Sebastian Vettel is going to ride to the North Pole on a llama called Maurice.

    Apparently, Joe is the only person in Formula 1 who is actually competent to do anything, and that if it weren’t for him, we’d all be horrendously lost and falling victim to evil reporters trying to sell us a dummy. But it’s a good thing we have Joe to save us from all that, eh? He’s the one who is looking out for us. There’s no bias here, no siree. After all, it’s not like he has a long-standing grudge against a team principal for releasing his favourite driver from their contract early, is it? And he would never attack that team principal for saying something that he never actually said, either …

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2012, 8:29

      @Prisoner-monkeys, as this is not JS’s blog, and we really do not know if he ever reads this, why post that here? Why not post it on his blog instead.

      I really think that most people here are interested in what you think of Joe (or even your grudge against him) as much as they are about reading someone play up his own ego.

    • Francuis (@francuis) said on 14th March 2012, 9:20

      Or why don’t you start your own blog, just to give Joe the opportunity to comment on someone else blog (a third party’s) where you are not able to defend yourself.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 14th March 2012, 9:53

        Excellent idea. It’s let down by one tiny flaw: I would be able to defend myself on my own blog.

        • Diogenes said on 14th March 2012, 10:26

          Keith will probably let you have this one after you’ve finished driving everyone away

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 14th March 2012, 11:27

            Why don’t you start the exodus, then? I’m sure everyone else will follow. You know, because you bring so much to the blogs with your constant attacks on other members.

            But how about you actually register an account first? Then everyone would be able to appreciate your wit. Of course, that would also mean they would be able to report your abusive posts, so maybe it’s better you remain an anonymous coward.

    • Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 14th March 2012, 14:30

      I lost all hope for Joe’s objectivity when It was confirmed he was hired as director at Caterham Cars Group (owner of the team), after year long bashing of Group Lotus. Now I just laugh sadly.

    • Oblong_Cheese (@oblong_cheese) said on 14th March 2012, 22:21

      Yawn. Can’t you post this tripe somewhere else, PM? I realise I’m simply feeding the troll here, but honestly, I can’t imagine you’re vain enough to think that anyone cares what you think about somebody else.

      Posting this kind of thing is what personal blogs/Facebook/Twitter are for – having a whinge about something you can’t change.

    • Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 15th March 2012, 1:23

      As much as I may agree with you, I don’t think it’s particularly relevant to this article at all. Nor does anyone really care what I have to think about the matter. There are other areas of life where my opinion really does matter, and where your opinion really does matter. This site isn’t really one of them.

      If it annoys you that much, simply stop reading it. I did a long a time ago.

      • Yeah, I have a lot of problems with Saward — more and more as time goes on. It rankles particularly because I think he could be one of the better, more candid journalists in F1, and he often is.

        I came here with an issue about him the other day, even though it probably wasn’t the best venue for it — so I can sympathize, @prisoner-monkeys . I do find it frustrating. I’m running out of F1 journalists I can respect, frankly!

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 14th March 2012, 7:56

    I imagine Red Bull are happy with their driver development programme. Even if Hamilton has another bad season I can’t see him leaving McLaren. The only way I envisage Hamilton anywhere else is if he does what Button did and throw himself in at the sweep end on the back of a world championship.

  14. thatscienceguy said on 14th March 2012, 10:18

    Well I sure hope Kelvin Thomson doesn’t ever stay at any Hilton hotels on taxpayer-funded trips. Cheap political point-scoring, nothing more.

  15. Slr (@slr) said on 14th March 2012, 11:25

    Yay, Comment of the Day, that’s my third (or two and a quarter). Anyway, thanks Keith. :)

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