Christian Horner writes off Lewis Hamilton chances of joining Red Bull


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The Independent Online

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has written off Lewis Hamilton's chances of joining his marque from next season.

It is not the first time Horner has poured cold water on such a possibility as dismissive comments followed Hamilton's infamous visit to see him in the paddock during the Canadian Grand Prix last year.

Horner suggested then Hamilton would not fit well into his team, but time has since moved on and the latter figure finds himself out of contract with McLaren at the end of this season.

Despite his problems last year, Hamilton's talent is undeniable and he could find himself a wanted man over the next few months.

But seemingly not by Red Bull where a vacancy may loom as the feeling is this season will be the 35-year-old Mark Webber's last.

"It's difficult to envisage Lewis in our team," said Horner.

"I think he's comfortable in the environment he is in, and we're certainly comfortable with the two drivers we have.

"We also took a decision to invest in youth and we've two really exciting youngsters entering GP racing in Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo.

"Both are really talented drivers and deserve that opportunity. It will be fascinating to see how they evolve over the year.

"So we're more likely to look inwardly than outwardly."

The feeling is a Vettel-Hamilton partnership would not work given both men are particularly strong characters.

"You have to look at the balance within the team as well," added Horner.

"It is important to have the right balance within any team, not just with the drivers, but throughout the organisation. Whether or not it could work, who knows?

"But our preference would probably be to go with drivers in whom we have invested from a young age, give them the opportunity and see how they evolve rather than take something external."

If that is to be the case then the Ricciardo-Vergne showdown over the next few months will be a fascinating sideshow to the main event in which Vettel heads into the campaign as favourite.

The belief is, however, the 24-year-old German will not have it all his own way this season as the front of the field appears to be remarkably close knit.

Ahead of this weekend's season-opening grand prix in Australia, Horner said: "This season looks like a stellar year for Formula One with six world champions. It's unprecedented.

"The quality of the field is phenomenal. I think it's going to be a really exciting season.

"Both Lewis and Jenson (Button) are going to be strong; Fernando (Alonso) you can never rule out, and Kimi (Raikkonen) looks like he is straight back into the groove.

"We're obviously determined to try and carry the momentum we've gathered over the last couple of years into this season, but we certainly don't take anything for granted."