Horner Opens Up About Being Surprised by Hamilton’s Switch to Ferrari

Christian Horner expressed surprise, shared by the entire Formula 1 community, over Lewis Hamilton’s unexpected switch to Ferrari, a sentiment that extends to his former team, Mercedes.

Over the last decade, the fierce rivalry between Red Bull and Mercedes has dominated the sport, contending for its highest honors.

However, the upcoming seasons might witness a shift in dynamics as multiple teams, including Ferrari, gear up for a title challenge.

Ferrari made headlines by securing seven-time World Champion Hamilton, luring him from Brackley to Maranello in what has been termed the deal of the century. Horner, during the unveiling of the RB20 in Milton Keynes, noted that even Mercedes was taken aback by this development.

“First of all I think everybody was surprised, even his existing team [Mercedes], about Lewis’ move to Ferrari,” he said to the media.

“He’s obviously seen something there that he believes in that serves him better than staying where he is. I think for F1, a Lewis-Ferrari tie-up is really exciting.”

Regarding the moment Toto Wolff, Horner’s counterpart at Mercedes, became aware of the news, the Austrian revealed he was briefed over coffee just one day prior to the official announcement.

“When we re-signed the contract with Lewis, we opted for a shorter term,”  Wolff commented following the announcement,

“So the events are not a surprise, [but] maybe the timing. So what happened is that we got together for coffee in my place in Oxford, and him returning to the factory, and he said to me he’d decided to race for Ferrari in 2025.

“That was basically it, we had a good hour of conversation and… this is where we are.”

Horner’s position appears uncertain, especially as he addressed the media amidst ongoing inquiries into claims of alleged misconduct. The 50-year-old has refuted all allegations, yet conceded that it served as a “distraction” in the lead-up to the upcoming season.

He said, “Inevitably there has been a distraction but the team is very together. “Everybody’s focused on the season ahead. It’s been very much business as normal. The support has been fantastic.”

“Obviously, my focus is very much on the season ahead. It has been business as normal.

“There is an investigation which I am working with fully so that is very much going on in the background whilst preparing for the season ahead.”