Helmut Marko explains reasons Hamilton will never join Verstappen at Red Bull

Helmut Marko has cited cost and a tense relationship as the two leading factors stopping Lewis Hamilton from teaming up with Max Verstappen at Red Bull in the future. These comments follow claims that the former’s camp reached out to Christian Horner about potentially replacing Sergio Perez.

The debate was sparked after Christian Horner told the Daily Mail: “We have had several conversations over the years about Lewis joining. They have reached out a few times. Most recently, earlier in the year, there was an inquiry about whether there would be any interest.”

Hamilton rubbished those claims, stating that he hadn’t reached out to the Red Bull team principal personally in years, although it later transpired, according to Horner, that it was his father Anthony who made the contact with the Milton Keynes-based team.

Instead of making what would have been one of the biggest shake-ups in F1 history, Hamilton opted to commit his future to Mercedes, signing a two-year contract extension that will keep him racing with the Silver Arrows into his forties.

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Discussing the chances of Hamilton joining the reigning champions, Marko told Autosport: “Christian informed me and showed me the text message he received, but I told him: ‘Hamilton and Max, that doesn’t work.’ 

“There was too much action and how should I say, in 2021, tension. And on the other hand, we cannot afford to have the two most expensive drivers in one team. It’s just never going to happen. So I told Christian: ‘No way.’”

Marko is correct to bring up cost as an issue. While driver salaries are not included in the cost cap regulations, Hamilton and Verstappen are the two highest-paid drivers on the grid with both drivers taking home an annual salary in the region of £50 million. Having both men on the books at Red Bull would carry a significant financial burden.

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Their personal rivalry is also a natural concern for Red Bull, who can ill-afford to throw away points in the Constructors’ Championship if the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren continue to close in as the development race intensifies. 

Hamilton and Verstappen came to blows on track on multiple occasions during their 2021 title fight with incidents at Silverstone and Monza causing retirements and clashes at Imola and Saudi Arabia creating significant bodywork damage.

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