“Called us an energy drinks company”: Horner on how Hamilton’s 2011 jibe propelled Red Bull charge

Red Bull boss Christian Horner explained how Lewis Hamilton’s comments paved the way for the new Red Bull engine project.

Red Bull have been a serious contender in F1, but find themselves playing second fiddle to Mercedes. But they have been going all guns blazing recently, making aggressive signings to take the fight to their rivals.

Horner gave an insight into how nobody considered Red Bull a threat when they first joined F1. Many drivers also had this attitude, and Lewis Hamilton was one of them. The seven-time champion had commented on Red Bull in 2011, and it was rather controversial.

The Red Bull boss referred to the time Hamilton called them “an energy drinks company”, and said, “It’s gathering pace. We’re getting the right people. We’re using all the same philosophy as on the chassis side of bringing the right people in.”

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton (pictured) famously referred to Red Bull as an energy drinks company. Source: forbes.com

“We’ve demonstrated that we can do it on the chassis side. People I don’t think took Red Bull seriously when they entered the sport as a chassis manufacturer. We were famously called just an energy drinks company by a certain driver,” he added, taking a dig at Hamilton.

Aged like milk

Hamilton, then at McLaren, was not impressed by Red Bull’s dominance of F1 in the early 2010s. He claimed McLaren or Ferrari would dethrone them sooner or later.

“Red Bull are not a manufacturer. They are a drinks company. It’s a drinks company versus McLaren/Ferrari history. I don’t know what their plan is,” he said ahead of the 2012 season.

“Our team is building to become a bigger manufacturer, like Ferrari, and I can only see our team being there for a ridiculous amount of time. It is a pure-bred racing team.”

Hamilton may be a good driver, but not a good astrologer. His predictions never came true, with McLaren and Ferrari never coming close to winning a title. Red Bull, meanwhile, are elite competitors. With their new projects, they are on track to becoming an engine manufacturer as well.

We might be looking at a proper rivalry between two absolute top teams soon. The icing on the cake is Hamilton driving for one of them.

Read more: “That doesn’t matter”: Verstappen can’t leave Red Bull even if they are unable to beat Mercedes

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