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Red Bull 'won't lure Hamilton'

2012-03-14 09:45

SEAT UP FOR GRABS? Torro Rosso's rookies could find themselves racing for Red Bull should Mark Webber (above) decide to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2012 season.


London, England - Formula 1 champion team Red Bull is more likely to promote its own young talent than try to lure Lewis Hamilton from McLaren, according to team boss Christian Horner.

Mark Webber's contract with Red Bull, as well as team mate and double champion Sebastian Vettel, expires at the end of 2012, as does Hamilton's at McLaren.

Hamilton was linked in 2011 to Red Bull, with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone suggesting in January 2012 that Hamilton might want to move. Horner told reporters ahead of this weekend's Australian season-opener that his team was unlikely to be interested.


Horner said: "I think it's difficult to envisage Lewis in our team. He's comfortable in his environment and we're certainly comfortable with our drivers. We also decided to invest in youth and we've got two really exciting youngsters in Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo - both very talented drivers who deserve the opportunity.

"It will be fascinating to see how they evolve during 2012 so we would be more likely to look inward."

Vergne and Ricciardo are starting their first full season at Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso with the potential reward of promotion to partner Vettel should Webber retire or the champions decide a change is needed. Vettel graduated from Toro Rosso after winning the 2008 Italian GP.

Horner added: "You have to look at the balance within a team, not just with the drivers but throughout the organisation. Our preference would probably be more to go with drivers in whom we have invested from a young age."


Horner tipped Hamilton's team mate Jenson Button to be Vettel's biggest threat. He also refused to fuel speculation about Webber's future: "I certainly don't think Mark is going into this year thinking this is his last. He's motivated, he's hungry, he's enjoying F1 again. He sees a future beyond the end of 2012.

"It's inevitable, when drivers get to a certain age... it's logical to take things one step at a time as Mark and the team agreed. There is no prerequisite that Mark won't be in the car in 2013. It's a long season. We'll talk about things at the end of the year."

Horner said there were no guarantees that Vergne or Ricciardo would be ready to move up at the end of 2012 should Webber, who won one race in 2011 compared to Vettel's 11, decide to retire.

"It might take two years, even three," he added. "It's just a healthy situation for the team to have two really young talented drivers to gauge against each other."

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