Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has ruled out the possibility of the team making a move for Lewis Hamilton, arguing it would be difficult to see the Briton as part of the line-up.
Hamilton is out of contract at the end of the current season and found himself linked with Red Bull last season after meeting with Horner in Canada – although both parties moved quickly to deny there was anything to the discussions.
Speaking ahead of the season opener in Australia this weekend, Horner played down the possibility of a move for the Briton in future, stating that Red Bull was more likely to give a chance to one of its younger drivers when a drive within the team becomes available – which could be as early as next season with Mark Webber out of contract at the end of 2012.
“I think that it's difficult to envisage Lewis in our team,” he told the Daily Telegraph
. “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 have two really exciting youngsters entering grand prix racing in Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo — both really talented drivers and both deserve that opportunity. So we're more likely to look inwardly than outwardly.”
However, Horner was quick to add that there was every chance that Webber could remain with the team into 2013 with the Australian currently on a twelve-month rolling deal.
“I certainly don't think Mark is going into this year thinking this is his last year,” he said. “He is motivated, he is hungry, he sees a future beyond the end of 2012. I think that inevitably drivers get to a certain age — he is 36 this year — and it becomes logical to take things one step at a time which is what both Mark and the team agreed to do.
“It's just nice for the team to have some options in the youngsters we are investing in, should that opportunity arise or be required; should Mark wish to stop for example. There are no guarantees that those guys will be ready in twelve months. It might take two years, or even three.”