LONDON, July 5, 2011 (AFP) - Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hasdownplayed suggestions Lewis Hamiton is on his way to join the team.
Horner insisted he was happy with his current pairing of world championSebastian Vettel and Australia's Mark Webber. British driver Hamilton, himself a former world champion, has been linked with a move to Red Bull from McLaren ever since the 26-year-old visited Horner after the qualifying session for last month's Canadian Grand Prix.
Both sides have denied Hamilton was talking about switching teams but speculation intensified with the recent revelation Hamilton has a get-out clause in his contract that could see McLaren allow him to leave a year early.
Vettel has dominated this year's championship and Hamilton has been visibly frustrated at times by the performance of his McLaren car. But Horner, in an interview with Britain's Press Association, said on
Tuesday: "On paper, a Vettel-Hamilton line-up would be hugely attractive. "But you have to look at the reality, at how these things work, and history dictates that two world-class drivers in the same team has not always been thebest pairing.
"You only have to think of Senna-Prost, Piquet-Mansell, or even Alonso and Hamilton. "We are hugely happy to have Sebastian committed to the team long term, and with Mark (Webber), we're very pleased with the job he is doing.
"Our focus at present is on those two drivers, rather than looking to change anything." He added: "I think it would be difficult to envisage a driver of Sebastian's calibre and that of Lewis under the same roof.
"Lewis is a wonderful driver, and you can understand why he might want to drive a Red Bull. It's obvious. "But would it be the best thing for us? We have severe reservations it would be."
Vettel, 23, has 16 wins and 23 poles from 70 grands prix, compared to 15 wins and 18 poles from 79 races for Hamilton. "In a shorter career he has already won more races than Lewis, had more pole positions and won the same amount of championships," said Horner.
"We are absolutely delighted to have Sebastian. There is no driver in the paddock I would rather have on a long-term contract than Sebastian Vettel." But the future of the 34-year-old Webber, out of contact at the end of the year, remains uncertain, with talks yet to start over a new deal.
"I believe he is comfortable in the team and if he had any concerns then I'm sure he'd ask me," Horner said.
"We both agreed we'd sit down in the summer, and the key thing for both sides is that he has the motivation, desire and performance to continue.
"He is effectively demonstrating all of those at the moment, and so once we get a bit later into the summer, we will sit down and have what is usually a pretty straightforward conversation.
"There is no pressing need to do it at the moment. We're in a fortunate position where we don't need to rush."