Lewis Hamilton signed up by the BBC for 2013

Wonders will never cease. Here’s the British Broadcasting Corporation’s announcement.

“Lewis Hamilton is to join BBC Sport as a columnist this season, starting on Friday. The 2008 world champion, who drives for Mercedes in 2013, will write for the BBC Sport website on the Friday before every grand prix this year.

The column, Hamilton’s first as a Formula 1 driver, is a key part of a revised online offering this season”.

In the desperate battle with SKY to find something new to bring to their F1 coverage the BBC has taken a big risk on becoming the mouth piece for Lewis Hamilton.

So, I though we’d celebrate Lewis’ invitation into the British media establishment by taking a look at an interview he did a couple of days ago with another great British institution – the Guardian Newspaper.

Additions and insertions from: TheJudge13



Lewis has over the years expressed he feels a strong sense of destiny for his life and has a desire to achieve the same level of greatness as Ayrton Senna.

“When I speak about greatness, I just know Ayrton Senna, the stories about the way he would walk into a room, the aura he had, the way people would perceive him, the way he carried himself, the way he drove and inspired people, inspired a nation – that is greatness,” Lewis said. “And that is a dream for any driver to achieve.

“It is a different era and I am not Ayrton Senna. I am my own personality, but I hope that I will have that greatness.”

An interesting perspective indeed and by way of comparison Senna once said, “I have no idols. I admire work, dedication and competence”.

Drivers’ titles

Lewis muses over the thorny matter of Vettel’s 3 WDC’s and Alonso’s 2 as compared to just the 1 he himself has achieved.

“Inexperience led me to be impatient in the past. But I am more patient now and I guess that comes with age. You make wiser decisions. I hope that impacts on my racing.”

On mistakes, Senna had this to say, “My biggest error? Something that is to happen yet”.

Some would suggest that Lewis and Ayrton share something in common here – the biggest boo boo is ‘yet to come’. It may be that now Lewis is ‘free from control’ and feeling unshackled, we ‘aint seen nothing yet folks’.


“I have been thinking to build a museum. It was my dad’s idea. It would be cool to have somewhere – in Stevenage or London, I don’t know – where we could have one of the cars from every year that I have driven and have the trophies up so that people can see them. There’s no point in having them all in your house where no one can see them.

Or I am going to have to build a house big enough because I have hundreds of trophies – I must have at least 500. I don’t need my suits, boots or gloves but I design my helmets and that is what people see and they have my blood, sweat and tears in them – and the memories.

The most valuable [trophy] is my first grand prix win – Canada, then the British Grand Prix. But Canada [in 2007] is the only one I own, the rest are replicas, even the world championship trophy.”

The only reference to legacy I could find from Senna was this. “If you think I am good wait until my nephew arrives”.

Ayrton didn’t speak about his legacy, partly because he died a young man. But of those who described what he left behind, Ron Dennis was as qualified as any to comment. “Ayrton Senna was an extraordinary racing driver. His skills, craft, subtlety and courage were of such magnitude that he dwarfed his generation of drivers.”

On a personal note, Emerson Fittipaldi had this to say. “The life of Ayrton Senna was an example in dedication and the love of the sports few athletes have had at international level. The world has lost the greatest athlete in the history of motor racing and I have lost a great friend. Grand Prix racing will never be the same without Ayrton”.


Some think this a little strange, but Lewis is planning to turn his new dog into one of the Jetset and have Roscoe accompany him to various race weekends.

“I emailed Bernie about my passes and then told him at the end I had a new member of my family. I was really nervous, but he said send a picture. I sent one of Roscoe wearing headphones. Bernie wasn’t too happy but that’s the one that will be on his pass. He is the coolest dog in the world, so funny. He has me in tears every day. I will take him to the European races.”

Ayrton didn’t have a travelling pet dog in his family, but he did have an intrinsic attachment to, “Women. [I’m] always in trouble with them, but can’t live without them”.


Lewis has bought something else besides a dog, his own private jet and gives us the following reasoning.

“It is about trying to simplify everything because it can be really hectic. Having the plane gives you a lot of time back in your life.”

Asked why he had it painted red, Lewis explains “Because every airport I go to every plane is boring white or with this really sad brown stripe down the side. What were they thinking? If you are going to spend that much money on a plane, it doesn’t cost much to get a paint job.

So I did it properly, just as when I buy a car. I don’t just buy a car off the lot, I like to design it and make it mine. I think it is the nicest plane.

I will die if [Roscoe] does a turd in my plane. I will have to get the whole plane changed. I have been renting planes for some time and now I can hop from one place to the other without complications. When you go to Heathrow, for example, it can be quite manic. People notice you and you don’t always want to be seen. You want a low profile.”

Senna_leading_HamiltonOf course Senna spoke regularly about materialism and here is one of those observations.  “Money is a strange business. People who haven’t got it try very hard to get it. People who have it – are full of troubles”.


Paul Wevear of the Guardian concludes, “So, Hamilton says he wants a low profile but he has painted his £20m private jet red. And he carries a dog with him, which must be as distracting as being accompanied by a small child.

Mercedes are slowly discovering just what they have taken on. This driver comes with baggage. But it will all be worthwhile if, in the next three years, he delivers the wins and the titles which the team so desperately crave.”

I beg to ask the question Paul – will it really?

One member of thejudge13 believes that the BBC F1 team wrote a number of generalised critical articles about Lewis in 2012 and is off to dig them up. It may be amusing to remind ‘Auntie’ (as the BBC is known in the UK) of her posturing as we receive the missives from Lewis’ ghost writer.

50 responses to “Lewis Hamilton signed up by the BBC for 2013

  1. I like his fighting spirit when he’s encompassed in his car and has a helmet on.
    But one thing, Senna was a genuinely humble man despite his wealth and success.
    To add to the Ron Dennis quote, Frank Williams said of Senna, “he was a greater man out of the car than he was in it”
    He had all the toys that extreme wealth brings, yet shortly after his death, his estate was valued at $180,000,000. By all accounts, he had given over half his wealth to charities. He had been discussing possible ideas to set up a foundation for children in Brazil, something his sister did after his death.
    In a BBC interview, he famously said, we cannot continue living as an island in a sea of poverty whilst people die. ( I paraphrase)
    Brazil went into mourning because a hero died, a million lined the streets to pay their respects because for all his success, he never stopped being proud to be Brazilian.
    One other thing that always struck me as dignified was his meeting with Denny Hulmes widow, after Hulme died. He went several days before the service because he wanted to pay his respects but didn’t want to be the focal point at the event. It wasn’t Senna being arrogant, but understanding how much of the media works.
    Lewis? A bright red plane screams look at me. Proud to be British? It always struck me as odd that a 3rd generation Grenadian carries the countries colours on his helmet. Or leaving Britain because of not getting any privacy anywhere. the cynics assumed it was taxes… And now he wants to build a museum. Staggering arrogance.
    The “superstar” girlfriend, the rapper posse and the bling accoutrements would have repulsed Senna.
    Senna endorsed very high quality products to bear his logo, Schumacher had his face on car polish, teddies and shampoo amongst 100’s of profit making products. I’m guessing XIX is going to use the Schumacher formula to brand Hamilton.

    Even the TopGear Senna special felt fake. Driving an MP4/4 from 1988, when he was 3, and he spoke of remembering seeing Senna race it!
    Personally, I believe that Alonso is the greatest talent to pedal an F1 car since 1994. Currently, on talent, it’s only Lewis that is anywhere near, but I wonder if Lewis is influenced by Alonso more than we realise. Hasn’t Fernando been spouting Samurai proverbs recently?

    • The fact the LH celebrates his ancestry and all that he is (I am not referring to his growing pains – that is a personal matter. We all go through that and his is out for all to see as he is a public figure) should not be seen as a negative surely?

    • No driver is perfect. They all have flaws. Even Senna did and not everyone liked him back then. Since his death it’s a different story.
      At least Lewis speaks of his ambitions, arrogant or not, just like Senna used to speak his mind. I much prefer his honesty and tantrums to Alonso’s and Button’s devious mind games and manipulation. At least you know where you stand with Lewis.
      And I believe Alonso was influenced by Schuey, Lewis was influenced by Senna. Probably what Lewis tries to also do now, is to implement elements of Alonso’s traits into his driver’s persona so that he gets ahead in the game. I’m sure he’s learnt a lot from his time with Button.

      • Completely agree. Senna, wasn’t very well liked in the UK at all.
        I started watching him in 1983, when he began that 9 win streak in F3. I saw him at Silverstone and Brands too, and something compelled me to watch.
        His season against local boy, Brundle, had the British press supporting the Brit obviously. But I believe what was more instrumental in their dislike of Senna was him telling Team Lotus, that Warwick couldn’t join.
        Even Warwick understood the reasons, Lotus just didn’t have the funds or infrastructure to cater to two number 1’s.
        Anybody who honestly believed Senna feared Warwick is sadly mistaken, after all, he joined Prost’s team in 1988.

        His deliberate attack on Prost in Suzuka 1990 was the most vile piece of driving I have ever witnessed. Yes he had his reasons, the previous year in Suzuka and Prost and Balestre politically manipulating outcomes of events to favour Prost, but that was unacceptable.

        They say there is a fine line between madness and genius.

        Since his death, he has been turned into a saint. Personally I can’t stand it.
        I was at Club Corner when Mansell picked him up in 1991, and the insults from the crowd towards him were staggering. Yet barely 3 years later, I walked around the circuit and paddock for the weekend, and the amount of people wearing Senna shirts and caps was astonishing.
        That angered me, in the same way that I had new respect for Piquet, when asked why he didn’t attend his funeral, he said “I didn’t like him when he was alive, why be a hypocrite?”

        I witnessed a genius for 10 years, on screen and on track. I met him once in the 1991 Tyre tests and couldn’t say a word. I have great memories of the man, yet cannot forget some of his outrageous failings.

        Final point. I went to the cinema to see Senna. I went with my wife who has little interest in the sport, yet she was absorbed throughout but for myself, it was underwhelming.
        I have read most of the biographies about the man, including a quite brilliant one by Tom Rubython. But not once was there ever a suggestion that Senna had spoken to his sister the night before he died, claiming that he’d opened the page and God was going to give him the ultimate gift… to a Catholic, that means only one thing.
        In fact, he had barely spoken to his family since leaving for Europe, because they did not like his girlfriend, Adrienne.
        His brother Eduardo had even gone over for reconciliation talks.

        It would appear that even his family are prepared to re-write history.

  2. I regularly enjoy coming here for brilliant commentary and articles on what is my favourite sport, that is until it comes to the subject of Hamilton. The knives are out in any piece relating to him, I wonder why you do not hold the other drivers up to the same level of scrutiny? Most of your gripes are about his personal life or personality which have very little to do with his driving, or F1. In a fast car he can be mesmerising and his pace is peerless. Fair enough he needs to mature to be at the pinnacle of his profession but apparently so do you 🙂 Nothing personal I just feel this place is gradually becoming the LH haters blog 🙂

    • Hi Islam

      Thank you for your comment. I would hope I ‘have the knives out’ for many people in F1 – that is part of the point of TJ13.

      I thought the ‘angst or seen the light’ article was pretty fair and offered some possible explanation of the external forces Lewis has grown up with which in turn help create who he is.

      I can assure you I do not have it in for anyone in particular and have brought down the gavel on Ferrari’s shambolic communication, Fernando’s childish threat to tweet, Jenson’s manipulative tendencies, Ferrari’s Secret relationships that have led to Bigliani’s appointment, Jackie Stewart, Johnny Herbert, Massa, Whitmarsh and a host of others have all copped it….

      Lewis has been very high profile this week off track, You Struggle to find a couple of F1 stories in the British newspapers on a normal day. Lewis has been in them all and F1 high profile too – but it’s nearly all been Lewis centred. Look at all the news stories I’ve run this week – mostly only foreign media have reported them.

      Let’s hope he is high profile on track this weekend because I think he is an incredibly exciting driver, like Senna was, and I’ve also been saying ALl winter Mercedes may have perfected their car…

      If you want my honest opinion I think it would be a great story if Lewis won the WDC this year.

      But him writing for the BBC is a mistake by XIX – Andrew Benson their writer has had it in for Lewis for quite some time.

      • Wow someone actually replied without resorting to childish insults! This is definitely NOT the BBC 🙂 I agree with a lot of what you write about LH, He is ‘New Money’, brash, arrogant and reckless but it is his driving that compels me to admire him and nothing else, the best I could put it is that he reminds me of the snooker player Ronnie OSullivan, if his focus is on his game he can be peerless. Bring back Lewis’ attitude from his 2007 campaign and his father to guide and all would be well 🙂

        • Agree 100% with your opinion of Lewis.

          As for the BBC forums, I refuse to even read them anymore as the comments there are so inane 😉

        • Maybe, but it depends what you want from F1… I’ve been around long enough to know it is a relentless soap opera – set against the backdrop of some racing…

          I say let’s enjoy Lewis’ self indulgent, self obsessive, plastic girlfriend (allegedly), silly dog, red jet and gangster rapper ambitions…

          But when he’s on it – boy can he drive. IMHO he has a Senna like manner in the way he treats the car that I’m not sure I’ve seen elsewhere since Senna died.

          Anyway now you know we’ll not bite – stay tuned and help our debates along 😀

        • This is a great site, and we seem to be blessed with adults too!
          Personally, being an Italian Ferrari fan, I have an inbuilt hatred for Mclaren, I know at my age….
          I hated Senna driving for the enemy but was mesmerised by his ability.
          I loved that Schumi drove for Ferrari, and won everything for us.
          Since he arrived, I have wanted Alonso at Ferrari and I hated him during 2007.
          For the same reason, I love Hamiltons ability, I love the fact he is not PC and he’s brilliant to watch.
          At Mercedes, i didn’t want Schumacher to succeed. I can’t really explain why, maybe my therapist can.
          But I really want to see Mercedes and Ferrari slugging it out. For me, I want Ferrari success, but I think this era could be redefined if Alonso and Hamilton are true sparring partners.

    • I applaud Ismail’s post and agree with many points in it. It must be disappointing to those who believed Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes would generate the bashing of the day headlines, following race weekends. The fact that testing has proved near remarkable for Mercedes and LH is happier has brought many to halt with their pre-written obituaries on LH’s career probably already saved on their hard drives. I decided this year to ignore bad press but at times I know I will fail in my quest. F1 is as much for the glamour and insane wealth, as it is for the racing and fearless drivers. It is why it is unique. Somehow if this was Kimi, I feel his purchases would be applauded as much as his drinking and ending up under tables. Last year for example, Kimi chose to bring a beer bottle to the post race picture taking session (much to his boss’s embarrassment) and no one picked on him. He is applauded for speaking rudely to his engineers and yet LH is alway picked on. It is disappointing that this blog has taken the sort of air that comes with power ‘going to one;s head’ as it used to be a great place to find very useful information the mainstream media ignore or often have no clue about. I have no problems with opinions how ever you only single out LH and it can be argued that your impartial stance of the past is currently blurred with contempt for LH. I used to like used to look forward to your F1 posts but the personal swipes at LH and his family members or assets make uncomfortable reading. Return to the reason that led you to create this blog to avoid adding to the tabloid heap.

      • What Beckham learned many years ago was to keep his stuff private.

        If Lewis wants to tell the world he drove ‘the Zonda’ 3 hours from Barcelona to get pizza in Italy ‘with his girl’ and then back the same night for the next day’s testing – inevitably there will be judgements people make.

        As I said in another reply, F1 is a soap opera and the likes of Ross Brawn et al know it too. – This ‘play’ or ‘circus performance’ is set against the more minor matter (time wise) of less than 2000 minutes a year of competition….

        • Hi Islam

          I guess you weren’t with us at the time, but I was fairly adamant on this.

          The penalty for cursing and drinking beer in public in Abu Dhabi is a stringent fine and most often a custodial sentence.

          So F1 either says – ‘we are F1 and you’ll do what we want’ to host nations – ie no rose water for the podium and keep the champagne – or it complies with local customs and laws.

          In my courtroom I’m afraid it would have meant a couple of days in the slammer for Vettel and Kimi.

          This is a case of don’t blame the law – blame the law makers. But the law should be observed.

  3. Lewis is experimenting with his taste of freedom. Obviously he is going to make a few mistakes, he needs to gain the experience for himself instead of being guided every step.

    However my own thoughts are that Fridays will be busy enough without writing for the BBC, I very much doubt he will be able to keep that up for more than a few weeks.

    I should have though that renting a plane is far better than owning one from a point of view of cost and downtime.

    I have already written about the stupidity of taking a dog to races, I find it intensely annoying that Bernie has supported this instead of banning it.

    But I am still looking forward to seeing Lewis’s talent on track this year.

    • re. taking Roscoe to the races – Bernie says he has offered to look after the dog while lewis is busy with the races:
      translated by google:
      “BILD: Lewis Hamilton takes his new dog everywhere. He has asked you a ticket for the bulldog …
      Ecclestone: “Yes, of course. I’m concerned he can take his dog even on the starting grid before the race. ”
      BILD: Would certainly a pretty picture when Hamilton dog would lift his leg on a Ferrari or Red Bull …
      Ecclestone (laughing): “I’m a huge Bulldog fan! Lewis I even offered that I take care of the dog when he drives his race. Then I’ll be dog-sitter and go for a walk. “

    • Will Lewis even be able to take his dog to his home grand prix? Doesn’t the UK have very strict quarantine rules for dogs entering the country (to stop the spread of rabies)?

      • Lewis has said he is planning on taking Roscoe to the European races. I take that to mean continental Europe, hence excluding UK.

        • Not sure what the UK doggy laws are now – they used to be very strict – 6 weeks in quarantine – but I’ve heard they have passports now…

          • I suppose we’ll find out if we see Roscoe in the paddock at Silverstone this year 🙂

  4. He might complain about the trophies being replicas but they are made to exactly the same standard as the original. It was always the case that McLaren keep every trophy but his ‘replica’s’ are identical in every respect. I know because we here at Fox Silver make them for 4 GP’s and for the World Championship.

    • Hi James

      Fantastic to hear from you. I’ve known of Fox Silver for a while – nice job on the USA trophy by the way.

      I’d heard the trophies were exact replica’s in every way – so the only difference is the one McLaren driver’s keep was not on the podium with them I guess.

      Which is your favourite trophy out of interest.

      • Yes USA very well received. Of the ones we make I like Abu Dhabi as well. Of the others Australia is a good one and also of course the fab trophy at Silverstone which the winner gets on the podium but not to take away!

    • I don’t doubt you one iota, but if this is the inescapable conclusion, why then, do McLaren want the originals, and not the replica?

      This issue about the trophys between McLaren and Lewis is about something far more than there physical construction, its about the natrue of their relationship, its why its not the main reason he left, but its a very nice symbol of it.

      • Adam, I agree it is about far more than trophies. McLaren though have always kept the trophies that are awarded on the podium. Its a historical fact. Conversely, Red Bull as a team – big customers of ours – are often happy with the replica, the driver having taken the original.

        • Thanks for that James, Its interesting to me how different the attitude towards this is between the two teams, out of interest, what is Ferraris stance? Do they get replicas made by yourselves? I ask because I assume it is McLarens History and Heritage that drives this, and indeed its attitude towards its drivers, its the way they do it. In places their strength, in others their weakness.

          .. and another congratulation on the USA trophy from me too!

          • Hi Adam – Ferrari generally don’t order very much although we have a very good relationship with Stefano and the team. As regards who makes replicas this is controlled by Intellectual Property Rights law. So we design and manufacture several trophies for F1 and therefore own the Intellectual Property for those trophies – in law this means anyone ordering a replica has to go to the owner of the IP for that trophy. So in F1, you can’t win the Canadian Grand Prix (not a trophy of ours!) and then decide to have it copied by your local silversmith. You have to go to who designed it – they may authorise you to have it made elsewhere but essentially it is a protected design.

    • I’d love to have an item that was F1-esque crafted by FoxSilver. What are the chances that you may release such a trinket to the public?

      Doesn’t have to be a trophy or a mini-trinket trophy replica, etc. Just something symbolic of F1 crafted by FoxSilver would be great. Thoughts?

      Maybe a chiseled medallion that could be symbolic of each race, plated with similar materials as the trophy for that race is made with. A badge of my devotion to F1 perhaps.

  5. Love it! Lewis is all over the place, still doesn’t know what he is, or what he wants, or who he needs, but currently thinks he does and is happy with that. I’m actually sure thats what drives him, though he doesn’t know it; that perpetual turmoil. When its at the right mix is what makes him go like a rocket. I love it, wouldn’t change a thing.

    I did spot this: “And he carries a dog with him, which must be as distracting as being accompanied by a small child.” clearly this dude does NOT have children to even suggest this!

  6. As Ross Brawn said, Lewis Hamilton is in “many ways very simple”.
    (see http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/motorsport/story/100495.html ).

    Lewis is not in the league of Jenson Button (the master) when it comes to being politically shrewd/astute or crafty with words or for that matter being devious. Alonso comes second to Button in that regard.

    Considering Lewis’s background (born and brought up in a Council estate by a Dad who worked his backside off to earn the money needed to train his son to be a racing driver), the boy/man has already achieved greatness beyond the wildest dreams of most former, existing or aspiring F1 drivers.

    BTW, to find 2012 and earlier stories on BBC Sport F1 which are written in a similar vein to those here, you just need to trawl through those authored by Andrew Benson.

    Lewis keeps me entertained on track and off track. He deserves all the millions he gets for it, and as I say “more power to his elbow”. he is a refreshing human in the world of F1 corporate automatons.

  7. Hope the BBC is not paying him too much! They could have considered a live transmission from the opening round and especially Monaco as an alternative. Whoever planned this season’s BBC coverage seems to have done it with a pin! Whatever happened to the strategy that stated that they would provide live coverage of the first and last GPs and include the classics?

    • Doubt that they are paying anything that’s greatly significant to Lewis.
      It’s probably more about the exposure – which will make the sponsors happy.

      • And as thejudge said earlier, the column will most likely be by a ghost writer. Lewis won’t have time on a Friday to it.

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