Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he and his father, Anthony Hamilton, are parting ways, professionally speaking. The elder Hamilton has been the McLaren pilot’s business manager since his karting days. However, Hamilton says they’ve made a joint decision that it would be mutually beneficial for the two of them to terminate that relationship.
It certainly won’t be for lack of success. The elder Hamilton has negotiated the second most lucrative contract on the grid for his son, at approximately $20 million per year. (He’s been edged out for top spot by Fernando Alonso’s new Ferrari contract, which pays him an estimated $25 million – which, incidentally, is about half of what the dismissed Kimi Raikkonen was getting.) And Anthony Hamilton has steered Lewis into several profitable personal endorsement deals, as well.
But the elder Hamilton is nothing if not entrepreneurial, and he recently announced that he was founding a GP Prep school for aspiring young drivers. He’s also branched out with his driver management activities, handling several other drivers besides Lewis, as well as pursuing interests in football, in a joint arrangement with ex-F1 driver Mark Blundell, who now has his own management company.
So it seems likely that Anthony Hamilton is keen to devote more energy to these other interests, now that his son’s career seems set on course for the time being. Lewis is contracted to be at McLaren for another three years.
Lewis Hamilton indicated that he would be searching for a new manager, but he was in no hurry. As reported in Autosport, he said, “I am here at McLaren for the next three years at least…But we at McLaren are a family, the guys all help look after me in many ways, so there is no need for us to rush to find a new manager. We just want to take the right steps in the right time.”
This is an interesting comment, and one that might give Jenson Button pause. While McLaren are always quick to insist that they maintain absolute parity between drivers, never delegating number one and number two status, the fact that Hamilton is willing to let team executives serve on an ad hoc basis as his personal managers is a sign of just how deeply entrenched he is in the team. Many drivers have referred to Ferrari as “a family,” but it’s certainly rare to hear a driver use that term in reference to McLaren.
The Woking based squad is widely regarded as the ultimate corporate team. Even so, Hamilton is their favorite son, and if they had to make a crucial decision about pit stops or deploying a new upgrade, all other things being equal, it’s hard to imagine that Hamilton wouldn’t have the advantage.
Hamilton also said he was looking forward to have a normal father-son relationship with Anthony. Hamilton’s parents were divorced, and once suspects that during his karting days, and then as he was climbing up through the various feeder series that ultimately lead to Formula 1, Hamilton and his father had a working relationship much of the time, with little time for recreation.
“You see,” Hamilton said, “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. So that’s what I want, and at some stage I am going to have to have a new manager. My dad will guide me and help me with the transition, and even the selection, but as a dad.”