RED Bull boss Christian Horner believes McLaren’s 2013 aspirations have been weakened by the loss of Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes.
Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, where Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel secured his third straight world title, was Hamilton’s last as a McLaren driver and marked the end of his 14-year working relationship with the Woking-based team.
McLaren have replaced Hamilton with Mexican Sergio Perez, who impressed at Sauber during 2012 but has yet to experience the scrutiny that comes with racing for one of Formula One’s top teams.
McLaren have also retained the services of 2009 world champion Jenson Button, who won at Interlagos, and will be looking to again be in the title mix along with Red Bull and Ferrari.
But Horner believes the loss of 2008 champion Hamilton is a sizeable blow.
“I think McLaren is a weaker team without Lewis.
“I think McLaren would admit that.
“Lewis is an outstanding driver and in Lewis and Jenson they had a hugely strong driver line-up.”