Dr Helmut Marko admits he made a fundamental mistake by advising Mercedes to sign Lewis Hamilton in late 2012.
The 79-year-old, a top official at Red Bull, told Sport Bild magazine that he gave his fellow Austrian Niki Lauda key information about Hamilton’s McLaren contract at a key moment in the now seven time world champion’s career.
“I gave him some information that Lewis would be available,” Marko said. “Of course I was not being altruistic.
“At the time, we thought Lewis would be less of a thre at to us at Mercedes than at McLaren, for whom he was driving at the time,” he added.
“In retrospect, that was a complete misjudgement, although at the time it was really not foreseeable. But with the knowledge I have today, I would definitely not do that again.”
Hamilton, now 38, has admitted that it was the late triple world champion Lauda’s personal interest in him signing up for 2013 and beyond that boosted his decision to leave McLaren.
“People told me to stay at McLaren – even my dad,” the British driver says today.