Red Bull's Horner dismisses Lewis Hamilton link

By Andrew BensonBBC Sport at Silverstone

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has played down speculation Lewis Hamilton could join the team in the future.

Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko was quoted last week saying "with his aggression and speed, Hamilton must always be a topic".

But Horner said: "If he wanted to drive for Red Bull, you couldn't ignore a driver of his calibre.

"But I understand he has a multi-year contract with McLaren and I envisage that he'll be there for a while yet."

Red Bull currently employ world champion Sebastian Vettel and Australian Mark Webber, who was third overall in the standings last year behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Vettel has recently signed a contract extension to stay with Red Bull until the end of 2014, but Webber is on a year-by-year contract and he and the team have not started to consider their options for 2012 yet.

Hamilton has a contract with McLaren that is believed to run until 2012 but there has been speculation about his future in recent weeks in the wake of McLaren's struggles to make their car competitive.

The team had a torrid time in pre-season testing, with the car struggling for pace and reliability.

In the wake of talk about his future, Hamilton sought out team principal Martin Whitmarsh before the first race of the season in Australia at the end of last month.

Hamilton said it was to "reassure him I am here, I am committed to the team, committed to winning.

"This is where my heart and mind are. I'm not thinking about going elsewhere, I don't have my people [his new management team] going elsewhere and doing any other talking."

Although Hamilton qualified and finished second to Vettel in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at the end of March, the McLaren was still some way off the pace of the Red Bull.

Horner added on Monday: "Lewis is a wonderfully gifted driver. He's obviously happy at McLaren. We're very happy with the driver line-up we have.

"With any driver-team relationship there has to be a desire on both sides. That's what makes the relationship with our current drivers work so well.

"Sebastian has been with Red Bull since he was 12. But who knows? In the future you can never rule anything out, but there would have to be a strong desire on both sides to do something like that.

"It's difficult to see how you could have two drivers of Lewis's and Sebastian's calibre under one roof. There tends to be fireworks as we saw with Fernando Alonso and Lewis [when they were McLaren team-mates in 2007].

"We're very happy with our current drivers. We'll see how things evolve."

Asked if his remarks meant he did not consider Webber to be of Hamilton's calibre, Horner said: "Absolutely not. They [Vettel and Webber] are at different stages of their careers and they complement each other.

"You've got an 11-year age gap and that life experience is pretty valuable, in Lewis and Sebastian you have two drivers who are pretty close in terms of age."

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