Lewis Hamilton steps out of his father’s shadow
Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton steps out of his father’s shadow
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Mar 2010   |  11:04 am GMT  |  113 comments

Lewis Hamilton has come out with the revelation that his father Anthony will no longer manage his career, in an interview with Autosport.

The pair have been inseparable since Hamilton’s early karting days, but the dual roles of father and manager are difficult to balance because it is so hard to divorce emotion from what should be pragmatic decisions and with some of the strained situations which have arisen in Hamilton’s brief but turbulent F1 career, the 25 year old and his father have decided that they would like to have a more normal father and son relationship.


“I want to be able to tell him about all the experiences I am having – but as a dad. I want to be able to have that, and build that relationship, ” he said.

“You see, because my dad has always been my manager, and because we’ve always been working and doing business stuff, I’ve not fully had that relationship with my dad since when I was maybe a kid and we went radio control car racing – and did it just for fun.”

The Hamiltons have been on the look out for someone to help with Lewis’ career since before he came into F1. I know that because in their GP2 days I introduced them to some very experienced sports management people. So too did many of my colleagues in F1. The Hamiltons went to see all the leading sports managers and F1 driver managers and the impression some gained from this experience was that they were looking to learn as much as possible about how things were done, but intended to carry on as they were.

Now that Hamilton has reached the level he has, managing his career is a full time job. Specialist driver managers like Daniel Morelli look after only one driver, in his case Robert Kubica. Steve and David Robertson, who manage Kimi Raikkonen are the same. Others have a small roster of talent, like Nicolas Todt, who manages Felipe Massa, Jules Bianchi and Sebastien Bourdais.

“All of this time we were discussing bringing someone else in, we never quite had the confidence to do it, ” says Hamilton. “I think we’re now at the point where we are looking to take that step – and I think it is a positive step.

“I’m 25. I am my own man now, I’ve been in F1 for quite a while now and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my dad. He’s done a fantastic job. But he’s done that job.”

Daniel Morelli told me last year that separating the emotional from the rational is critical in F1 management and is very hard to do as a parent and I’ve dug the quote up here because I think it highlights where the Hamiltons had got to in their thinking about their ongoing relationship,

“For me the key to not making mistakes is due to the emotional aspect, ” Morelli said. “I think if you are a father managing someone, and I am a father as well, I could never manage my daughter. Because I realise that my emotion would overwhelm my experience. With Robert we have almost the perfect balance between emotion and professional coolness. The day I become too involved emotionally is the day I will make mistakes.”

To many of Hamilton’s harshest critics among the public, Anthony’s “pushiness” and ambition for his son has long been perceived as a negative. The Hamiltons find it hard to understand why people dislike them so much for having a goal and working hard to achieve it, but there’s no getting away from the fact that this situation exists and it will be interesting to see how opinions change as Hamilton matures and he moves out of his father’s shadow.

Dads who push their sons to sporting success are many; Tiger Woods, Jenson Button, Andre Agassi and many more like them would not have reached the pinnacle without the support and drive of their parent. Hamilton was unusual in being managed even after hitting the big time by his father and clearly they have reached a point where they’ve decided that it is healthier for their long term relationship for the roles of father and manager to be separated.

Meanwhile it has been announced that Anthony Hamilton’s F1 driver academy, GP Prep, has been given approval by FOM and the FIA. It will help young drivers make the step up to F1 by giving them track time and coaching in recent F1 machinery. This is designed to fit in with the new testing restrictions which have made it very hard for drivers like Jaime Alguersuari, to stop straight into F1 at a Grand Prix.

Read the full Autosport article here

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1

If race does not play a part in it (and it does whether we want to admit it or not), then Lewis having a new manager who may not necessarily have loyalty to McLaren may pave the way to Lewis eventually driving for Ferrari. I personally would not want to see that happen, but if he had to change team where else would there be to go.

2

I have to agree with you last bit! EXCELLENT analysis! many people forget how Alonso used the mass damper to cheat and beat Kimi and Schuey. Thats why he got a shock when Lewis wipped him in 07.

I hope Massa puts him in his place this season aswell.

3

i really resent the way that some people assume that if you don’t like the Hamiltons, it’s to do with the colour of their skin, i couldn’t care less about that, i dont support Lewis cos I’m a ferrari fan, and Anthony Hamilton annoyed me becase he was too vocal in critising the team and seemed to get the way far too much for my liking (i suspect a lot of that that, although a manager, he couldn’t distance his self from being a parent, so this is a good move for them both). The people who assume that the dislike is due to race, are themselves racist as always qualify Lewis in terms of colour. give it it a rest, F1 is a multi national sport, I get just as annoyed with people who wouldn’t support Schumacher because of his nationality as i do with the people who tell me that I obviously don’t support Lewis because of his colour – well, I don’t support Button either… so i’m guilty of not being patriotic when it comes to F1, but thats all!

4

Oh, I get it you want black people to know their place and don’t open their mouth. Anthony Hamilton is self confident, ambitious and doesn’t bow down to white people to make them happy which is why you have a problem with him. It is your right to hate him for whatever reason, but it is my right to speculate on your reasons for hating him. But you will still see him on TV because he will still go to Hamilton’s races. There will never be a woman in F1 which is a pity because then you would be the women crying sexism whenever the overrated female F1 driver gets criticised and people say she is only in F1 because of her looks or sponsorhip money. But as I said there will never be a woman in F1 so you will probably never have to experience this “sexism”.

5

whoa there David, you’ve got me completely wrong, did you not read the bit where I said I don’t care about the colour of anyone’s skin. just for your info, one of my all time sporting heros is Daley Thompson, and I loved hearing him interviewed also as he was amusing and informative. I admired him for his talent, ability and personality and thats all.

6

Not sure where your coming from David you obviously didn’t read what she was saying, she doesn’t appear to have any problem with anyones colour. She does have a problem with Hamilton snr seeming to think he knows better than mclaren heirachy on how best to run the team. And I’m guessing from her article that she is annoyed when people believe she doesn’t like Hamilton simply because he’s black, when infact she’s not keen because she supports ferrari.

7

if you are a ferrari fan why would you care if Anthony Hamilton was critising McLaren?

8

I just dont think it’s a manager’s place to criticise a team to the press, but I think hat in the cases where that happened, his parental emotion took over.

9

In addition to the growing resentment of the Hamiltons, you are also partly to blame, James Allen.

You coverage of some F1 races throughout 2007 and 2008 Was sometimes only focussed on Lewis. The whole ITV F1 show was more of a Lewis Hamilton show. The only thing missing was a static picture of Lewis Hamilton whilst playing God save the queen in a loop for about 10 minutes. It was vulgar and totally destroyed the quality of the coverage of many races, so much i went to follow races via other networks.

That you are capable of looking at F1 as a whole and stop your Lewis fascination on this weblog was a huge suprise for me.

But back in da days your and ITVs, and almost all of the British press drooling over Hamilton, has played a part in the growing dislike of the Hamiltons.

10

You should not be surprised that I am able to look at F1 as a whole on this site. I’ve been doing it for 20 years.

I think you need to separate the commentary from the race build up show. I don’t disagree about the latter, but Martin and I made sure the commentary was about all the drivers. Take one at random off the shelf and watch it. Of course Lewis featured heavily because he was a contender at every race. The fact that a British driver was fighting for a world championship for the first time in 12 years made him a focus, the fact that it was a rookie doing this added to the rarity value. Do you not think Murray Walker would have got wrapped up in that? He cried when Damon won the title…

I think I was unfairly criticised for Lewis focus by people who didn’t like him. It was the show as a whole, not the commentary which overdid it.

11

You are competely right James. The Hamilton haters (and they are a pack in their own right) are quite vocal and nasty, and I blame them for having Legard foisted on us and not you as a commentator at the BBC. I don’t hear anyone criticising Legard for going on and on and on about Button last year, because he doesn’t have as many haters. Of course a lot of it is to do with race.

Lewis is immensely popular – more so than Button in this country and internationally especially – but he has more haters than Button unfortunately, who twist everything he says and does. He and his father, and indeed you James, cannot be blamed for people’s irrational hatreds. Jack Torrence is a fine example of this as he is extremely vocal and garrulous.

12

OK – I don’t want to carry on this thread. Enough has been said on this now.

13
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I don’t understand why there has been such a fuss about the ITV commentary and Lewis Hamilton. I think that the problems for many of those who criticise are based around their own dislike for him.

Why was James not criticised for going bananas after Jenson Button won his first race? Where were the complaints then? On the basis of your argument, 2004 was as much the Jenson Button Show as 2007 was the Lewis Hamilton Show. For God’s sake, they even had JB’s girlfriend sing over the intro on one show.

Why is the BBC not criticised for its pathetic Andy Murray and Tim Henman show that is otherwise known as Wimbledon. They are not berated for focusing an obscene amount of time on journeymen?

I’m really disappointed in those who made it impossible for James to transfer over to the BBC. You crucified him and then realised that you made a huge mistake….well, because of you we now have to suffer Legard.

James was never going to be another Murray..and why should he have been? Murray was a National Treasure. How many other National Treasures have been successfully replaced? Jay Leno left the Tonight Show and his replacement was given hell….not because he awful but because he could never have replaced a National Treasure.

Murray was more “entertainment”, James was more “informative” and in an era when race strategy was all important he was exactly the right person for the job. He had provided us with the best information in the pitlane and still kept piping it to us when he was a commentator.

Lewis Hamilton caused the biggest stir in Formula 1 in the 2000s. Even more so than Alonso. Why? Alonso walked the championship in 2005 with a vastly superior car and then lucked out in 2006 when Schumacher had his mechnical failure in . No-one was really sure about how good Alonso was. Then Hamilton came along as a rookie and outperformed Alonso in his first season, causing drama along the way.

14

The Hamiltons find it hard to understand why people dislike them so much for having a goal and working hard to achieve it,””

Hard to understand?

How about:

* publicly bashing teamm and teammate at Monaco 2007

* not adhering to team agreements at hungary

* several public statements about alonso should leaving the team

* forcing heikki kovalainen into a 2nd driver role that makes shumis years at ferrari quite honest and equal

* saying hes a team player

* and then blaming that team for melbourne 2009

* the endless ”i will only get stronger from this” excuses after a crash

* the many, many controversial moves on track

* the many deserved FIA penalties received by Lewis

* on the other hand not receiving any serious penalties like a ban for his crashing into competitors at montreal, being involved in lying to get trulli disqualified, the involvement in spygate, etc, etc.

* the huge list of degrading, arrogant, intimidating comments like:

– i do not move to switzerland for tax reasons

– i want to live a quiet life, and then attend mtv parties

– i have extra brain capacity that enables me to spot red lights in pitlanes

– i always drive with my heart out (and then ask the team to think about the gearbox at nurburgring 2009)

– i blew alonso away

– alonso should leave so the team can fcus on me

– i am fitter than jenson

and when jeson said: prove it he reluctantly agreed for a match and a bet, with proceedings going to charity.

Ok, i admit the withdrawal from putting his actions where lewis mouth was, was caused by anothony hamilton.

This should be a great opportunity then, to back up the big mouth and challenge Jenson in a triathlon.

But anyway, Lewis will need to do a LOT more than splitting with his father to repair his image.

15

Anthony himself didn’t do anything wrong in my opinion.

The problem was that the cameramen wasted way too much time filming him during the races.

16

First out; girlfriend. Now father. Could it be possible that Hamilton’s social life will have a bigger impact on his 2010 season than his skill? Its starting to look like there is too much turbulence on that side of his life!

17

The girlfriend is back, can’t say I blame him!

18

Lewis is still with Nicole. Keep up!

19

What about Joe Ramirez? He spent some 30 years at McLaren and should still know a lot about the team and company. But then he’s already 69 and might enjoy being away form the circus too much by now.

I just hope Lewis’ doesn’t end in the hands of someone who’d rather whore him out than actually lead him to the most fullfilling career possible.

20

What kind of work does an F1 manager do james??

21

Obviously a good move PR wise, but I just can’t see Anthony Hamilton not being heavily involved behind the scenes.

22

The Hamilton’s no very well the reason why some people have a strong dislike for them, and it’s race, which they dare not mention. It sends some of their detractors over the edge, to think that a black man can do so well in a sport that is dominated by white men.

23

I totally agree. That is why his father attracts so much criticism for being in the garage, but all the other dads don’t get any. It is so obvious, it is like duh! But say it and you are accused of being completely wrong. A black face in the garage that is not lifting heavy machinery is just “not right” to some people and it is pure racism. I just hope his dad hasn’t stood aside because of this type of horrendous racism.

As for claims that the pit crew don’t like him, that is pure nonsense too. I have read reports from people who have worked in the garage at McLaren who say Anthony is well respected and liked, but it seems some people’s prejudices make up their own perceived reality.

24

Good luck to both of them. They seem to be a good family especially the way the are inclusive with the boy with disability. It seems Lewis this season is more quiet than normal….don’t know why!

25

he should have been this quiet in 2007!

26

WOW, thats a surprise. I didn’t expect that! I thought that they always had a good relationship as you did see them quite a lot together!

I hope that Anthony has a good future and good luck tom him.

27

I hope he chooses his career and life over money. I’m not knowledgeable about this, but I assume a big sports management company would look to maximize revenue. My feeling is that after you have about $10 million there are diminishing returns the more you get.

Focus on staying in a good car Lewis and having time to enjoy your life and what your doing now.

28

Pardon the slight veer off topic, but this theme crops up in “Chinatown” and the character’s answer to why there’s never enough money: “The future, Mr Geddes!. The future!”

29

I think you should win a prize for getting Chinatown into an F1 discussion.

my sister

my daughter

my sister

my daughter

30

This move should help both men in the future. Anthony Hamilton has busted his butt for years, making sure that Lewis’s career stayed on the proper path. He did everything he could to let Lewis focus on the driving. Anthony deserves to sit back and enjoy the prime of his son’s career as any proud dad would. Go to Willi Weber, Lewis. He’s worked pretty well for his other F1 client.

31

Don’t think Anthony is intending to sit back. He’s made enough money and contacts off the back of his sons success, doubt his ‘cars for newbies’ scheme is the only iron in the fire.

Simply time to move on for Lewis. Daddy helped build the driver but he cannot build the BRAND.

32
Zobra Wambleska

You’re not referring to Ralph are you?

33

Did Martin not step away from driver management as he wanted to look after his own sons racing career

34
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

James, any comments coming up on the shambles that was Campos and has now been reborn as “Hispania”?

This has to be the worst name for a team since Midland.

35

Sounds like they took the name straight from an Asterix comic book

36

I’d say change is never risk free. It ain’t broken, so why fix it?

37
Zobra Wambleska

Ah, but it is broken. It’s time for Lewis to move on to the next level.

38

Interesting that most very high end managers invariably only look after one or two top level drivers – let one wonders how Flavio was able to manage Alonso, Webber, a few others, Renault, Mechachrome, Billionaire Fashion, Billionaire Club Sardinia, Lion in the Sun, his investment in QPR, his investment in Cipriani, his investment in Pierrel and a club in Tuscany…

And Alonso and Webber’s careers have enjoyed arguably the most relative success of any driver, given that the former won 2 WDCs and ended up in both McLaren and Ferrari, while Webber, despite never really being as good as he’s lauded to be, has endured with avrious top teams…

Face it, the guy’s a business GENIUS.

39

Alonso’s manager is Luis García Abad, I think.

It has been for some time now.

40

So, who are the managerial candidates?

41

I read that Mika Hakkinen was in line and that they don’t want a slick type or large agency. All speculation at the moment though.

42

A bit OTT, but is Mika a McLaren or Mercedes guy these days?

43

I would expect him to go for one of the big sports agencies, like SFX or IMG, rather than a Willi Weber, Steve Robertson type candidate, but you never know.

44

yeah I think it will be one of those bigger firms rather than a F1 specalist, mainly trying to cash in on his crossover appeal.

45

Flavio’s a bit freeish at the moment. 🙂

46

Ever thought of having a go yourself James?

47

I love what I do and wouldn’t suit that kind of work

48

Depends on how Lewis sees himself. Is he a sports property or a sports figure? If the former, then IMG is perfect. Lewis has already showed himself to be flawed so IMG would be perfect. He can use the same spin doctors as Tiger Woods. IF on the other hand, he wants the best deal then Weber would be perfect.

49

does vettel still manage himself?

50

was he still managing himself @ 19? what does that say about managing a F1 driver?

51

time to move on and be a man!!!

52

Considering his race I think Lewis Hamilton is an excellent example to us all whatever our colour or racial origins.

All in a pretty nice bloke is how he comes across to me, I say good luck to him.

53

Wow changing times in the Hamilton camp, would be intrested to see whoever gets the job how they will go about changing the image of lewis.

54

Not a bad idea to be honest…

I had read about Anthony Hamiltons academy idea and that would be a great project for him to get involved in.

It will be good for Formula 1 in general, as the new guys dont even get the chance to do proper testing, so its do or die.

Kobayashi was the rare exception of someone recently who just came in and blitzed it. Others take more time to get used to it.

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