Imagine the kind of on-track action that having Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen race each other in virtually equal machinery would produce. The ultimate Formula 1 driver lineup? Probably. As exhilarating and somewhat bizarre as that would be, a couple of issues will prevent this from ever happening, the biggest one being money. A lot of money.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko admitted to being aware that team principal Christian Horner had reached out to Hamilton earlier in the year, after Hamilton's father Anthony suggested the two should chat.
“Christian informed me and showed me the text message he received, but I told him: ‘Hamilton and Max, that doesn't work,'" Marko told Motorsport.com “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."
Rumors of Red Bull being interested in Hamilton surfaced during the season finale in Abu Dhabi last month, though the various reports were met with indifference by both parties. Ultimately, Horner confirmed that he had, in fact, reached out to Hamilton, but he did so at an old mobile number and never actually reached the seven-time world champion.
Once Horner told Marko about the contact attempt, the longtime team advisor supposedly shut down the idea, claiming that it just wasn't possible.
“It's just never going to happen. So I told Christian: ‘No way,'" said Marko, according to the outlet.
Even if those hurdles didn't exist, however, the likelihood of the two champions driving under the same banner is extremely weak. Hamilton claims to be loyal to Mercedes and is convinced that he can help the team get back to championship-winning form. And as far as Verstappen goes, it's unlikely that he would welcome Hamilton into a team that was built specifically for him—essentially opening the door to a possible shake-up.
According to their current contracts, and unless something truly wild happens, we will continue to see Hamilton and Mercedes try to fight their way to the front, while Verstappen and Red Bull try to maintain their superiority.
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