Christian Horner has played it down, we all saw how Lewis Hamilton reacted but now Helmut Marko has stirred things up again, by stating that the 2008 F1 World Champion 'must always be a topic' for the energy drinks-backed outfit. You can invariably trust good old Helmut, can't you...
The speculation was first aroused by the poor performance in winter testing of McLaren-Mercedes' new MP4-26, with suggestions that a season away from the sharp end of the grid would not sit easily with Hamilton, who might consequently be tempted to look elsewhere in pursuit of his title-chasing goals – with defending double F1 World Champions Red Bull mooted as a viable alternative.
Whilst RBR team principal Horner has conceded that the British star is 'a great driver...and one of the best there is', he has stressed that the Milton Keynes-based squad is 'very happy with the two drivers we currently have'.
Albeit acknowledging that 'you never know which way the wind will take you', Hamilton responded by acerbically describing Red Bull as merely 'a drinks company', following which he publicly re-pledged his commitment to McLaren. All a storm in a teacup and something out of nothing? If it is, clearly nobody remembered to tell Marko...
“First we have to see how the season goes for Mark [Webber] and what he decides,” Red Bull's always controversial motorsport advisor told German publication Sport Bild
, referring to the fact that although Sebastian Vettel recently re-signed until the end of 2014, team-mate Webber's contract expires at the end of the present campaign.
“Definitely with his aggression and his speed, Hamilton must always be a topic. Our philosophy is to have the quickest drivers together in our team.”
Marko is famously not a fan of Webber's, and the sport's influential supremo Bernie Ecclestone has similarly admitted his desire to see a Vettel/Hamilton 'dream team' at Red Bull Racing, opining that 'both of them are a gift for F1, even more if they were in the same team'.