#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 15th December 2014


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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Well that solved entirely nothing…

#F1 History: First McLaren car discovered

Voice of the Fans: Why #F1 needs someone like Pope Francis

The Top-20 #F1 Constructors who Failed to win a Championship – 2nd: Ligier

OTD Lite 2006 – Ferrari legend killed in road traffic accident

Hamilton win BBC Sports Award finally

Schumacher losing sponsorship because of injury

Villeneuve – typical forthright views on Mclaren and Ferrari

Marchionne – Ferrari to embrace a future of “attack”

Williams strengthen management team

Hamilton fails to impress the British public voters

Life after Formula One

OTD Lite 2006 – Ferrari legend killed in road traffic accident

There are many legends within Formula One. Many are multiple champions that defined an era. Others contributed to epic battles on track that live on to this day; and others are of nearly men that captured the imagination of a generation.

To my mind – Clay Regazzoni belongs to the last tier of drivers who became legends. With a name that was inconceivably fast he was never destined to be a bank teller and despite an often hard racers attitude on track, he was recognised as a true gentleman off of it. He took his first victory for Ferrari in only his fourth Grand Prix at Monza in 1970 and would add another four – including winning Williams’ first victory at Silverstone in 1979.


In 1980, at Long Beach, he had a crash which would leave him paralysed from the waist down. Yet in similar fashion to Alex Zanardi this proved no barrier to his work with disability organisations and even competing in events with hand controls, His death on this day a mere eight years ago occurred on the A1 mototrway near Parma, Italy when he collided with the rear of a lorry.

The Grumpy Jackal


Hamilton win BBC Sports Award finally

Third time lucky is an age old cliche in England; also known in America as ‘third time’s a charm’. Although the origins of the saying haven’t ever been truly discovered some will suggest it is the Holy Trinity, others claim it originates from the gallows and if the hangman’s noose failed to execute the prisoner – the death sentence would be commuted to a life sentence.

Of course, popular folklore will tell us it is about perseverance. “Try, try and try again” Three seems to be accepted as the right number, two is too few; whereas four is deemed too many!

So it proved when Lewis Hamilton finally received the UK’s recognition by winning the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year 2014 Award.

Each year, the British broadcaster holds an awards ceremony that recognises outstanding sporting achievement and the public will phone on respective numbers to show their support for their favoured athlete.

In his debut season in 2007, he was runner-up to boxer Joe Calzaghe and in 2008 – despite winning the title – was once again the bridesmaid to eventual winner Sir Chris Hoy – the Olympian.

This year he garnered 209,920 votes from the 620,932 total and beat golfer Rory McIlroy and athlete Jo Pavey to the trophy.


“I am so speechless. Firstly I really want to say a huge congratulations to all the champions, I’m so proud and honoured to be amongst such great British sporting talent.”

“I want to say a huge thank you to all the people who called in. I really wasn’t expecting it – McIlroy was having such an amazing year.”

“Tonight has been a huge reminder of how many great sportsmen we have here. I never thought I’d be standing up here. It’s just a dream.”

“Thank you to all the fans. I always feel we win and lose together because I feel your love when you come to all the races.”

“I’m proud to carry the Union Jack and I hope I can continue to make you proud.”

And one thing is for certain – critics of SPOTY often bemoan that the winner is lacking in the ‘P’ for Personality department.

Surely whether they love him or not – F1 fans across the spectrum can agree Lewis delivers on that score. #HeartOnSleeve


Schumacher losing sponsorship because of injury

The debate about whether F1 is a sport or not does the rounds time and again. Famously, Frank Williams stated that F1 is a business – the sport is the two hours on a Sunday afternoon every fortnight or so.

One of the defining moments in the sport vs business evolution, was when the Lotus 49 was unveiled and seen resplendent with its Gold Leaf sponsorship. Up to that point, F1 had been the playground of the rich and sponsors were entrants or suppliers to the teams. Tobacco funds changed the sport for good.

Before the 1977 F1 season began, Niki Lauda was callously told by his personal sponsor – Romerquelle – that he would only be paid half the promised sponsorship for the season because he only had ‘half a face left’. In similar fashion over last weekend – reports emerged that Michael Schumacher was losing sponsorship contracts for what appear equally callous reasoning.

Big sponsors are withdrawing their ties from the stricken German legend as doubts remain over his recovery. Whilst Mercedes and DVAG have promised to stand by Schumi in his hour of need, many are publicly severing their ties.

Phillipe Gaydouis, owner of fashion firms Navyboot and Jet Set is one such and the report carried on the Swiss Bluewin website claims: “It’s not easy for Schumacher’s sponsors: paying out millions of Swiss francs per year and receiving nothing back since the crash.”

The moral question is – of course – should these companies be visibly distancing themselves from a world famous athlete who has suffered a severe accident which left him a coma?

“It’s a balancing act. On the one hand the sponsors must pursue economic objectives which point towards a parting. On the other hand it will not be well received in public if you are turning your back on Schumacher at a difficult time.”

Gaydoul’s spokeswoman confirmed the decision and the termination of a £4 million a year contract – and German mineral water company ‘Rosbacher” also annulled their contract with him earlier this year.

It is worth bearing in mind though, that Schumi’s affairs were always looked after by Willy Webber – the infamous 20% man. News outlets may be reporting just part of the story, because it is most unlikely that shrewd Willy would have allowed them to relinquish their contractual duties, with consummate ease.


Villeneuve – typical forthright views on Mclaren and Ferrari

At the recent Bologna Motor Show, Jacques Villeneuve offered his opinion on the signings of the Mclaren drivers and was unequivocal in the decision made. Having partnered Jenson Button for a number of seasons at BAR and was team-mate to Fernando Alonso at the tail-end of 2004 with Renault – he probably has a unique point of view on the new Woking partnership.

“They took the right drivers, simply by keeping Button. I think the two will work well together. Jenson develops the car well; as does Fernando so for the sake of the team it was the best choice. Now we just have to see what Honda brings to the party.”

“Of course, if things go well, then it will be fantastic” but he warned “if things go wrong, inevitably after six months things will fall apart. That is his character.”

Being in Italy, it was not long before Sky Italia turned Jacques thoughts to the matter of the Ferrari pairing and the Canadian was brusque in response.

“Kimi is not right there. The Mclaren team has two drivers who will work. Ferrari have Vettel but like when Alonso was there – he will feel a little ‘alone’. Team spirit will not get Kimi winning again, and Vettel is not there to help Kimi.”

“Seb is there to win. Kimi is useless. The results will only come through in 2016. Next year they will replace everything and the drivers will work, developing the car, fitting in with the new personnel but forget 2015 as a year of success – it’s a year to rebuild.”

Oh well Jacques… why not just tell us what you really think – for a change


Marchionne – Ferrari to embrace a future of “attack”

He may be a Mclaren driver from January 1st 2015, but Fernando Alonso was still on duty with Ferrari in one of his final engagements for the Scuderia. He was in attendance at Maranello with Sebastien Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen as Sergio Marchionne and Maurizio Arrivabene spoke at the teams Christmas event.

Marchionne: “In this room, there are many very talented people. I am here to get you working at your best and to give you the necessary resources, which when combined with your ability will put our fantastic driver pairing in a position to fight for the front row.”

“I have full confidence in Maurizio. He has known this world for a long time and has the ability to steer the Scuderia in what is a difficult period for it and for Formula 1 in general. Do not fear change, be proactive and have the courage to come up with ideas”

Arrivabene also spoke at the event which was something that hadn’t been afforded Marco Mattiacci – Stefano Domenicali successor – when he first arrived at Maranello. Il Padrino habitually taking the stand in front of the worlds press and effectively muffling Marchionne’s choice of team principal.

MA: “I am very proud to work for this company, which is the best there is. A company is its people and in this case, they are very special people. Now we look forward to Christmas, but as from January, I want to see you not on the defensive but on the attack, because the aim is to get the Scuderia back where it should be.”

So it seems that Ferrari has gone back to the future. After the founders death in August 1988, Ferrari was run by faceless corporate Fiat executives who had no experience of a racing team. It took three years before the charismatic Luca parachuted into the team and turned its fortunes around.

With Luca offered to the lions, we have the return of some impressive corporate giants but who amongst them has no front-line competition experience.

Italians are not holding their breath..


Williams strengthen management team

Williams have again strengthened their management structure by recruiting Steve Neilson as their Sporting Manager from Toro Rosso. Neilson has nearly 30 years’ experience in Formula One, most notably his time with Pat Symonds at Enstone – during their title winning seasons.

“I’m delighted to be joining a team of Williams’ history and stature in what is a very exciting time for everyone at Grove after a very impressive 2014 season,” said Nielsen. “In this role I will be able to help ensure that our operations at the race track are maintaining the highest standards and that we are maximising our performance at the race track from a sporting perspective. Williams’ has a very talented team of people and I’m looking forward to working with them.”

Steve first entered F1 as a truck driver for Lotus, though he has become a recognised Sporting Director, having performed this role for Renault, Lotus, Caterham and Toro Rosso over 14 years.

Pat Symonds said, “Steve brings a wealth of experience of the sporting side of Formula One and will help us as a team as we aim to climb further up the Championship table. He has won World Championships in the past and knows what needs to be done on a sporting level for Williams to do this again. We have a talented and ever improving race team and with Steve on board we are well placed to make further operational gains next season.”


Hamilton fails to impress the British public voters

The BBC flagship annual sports review programme and the top prize of “Sports Personality of the Year” (SPOTY) again came under fire from the British public. The age old criticism of this ‘competition’ for the top slot is based upon the use of the word ‘personality’ as often the victor is perceived somewhat lacking in this department.

Suggestions that it should be renamed to something more like “Sporting Achievement of the year” again surfaced on social media. Yet when comparing this year’s winner to previous incumbents, Hamilton surely does meet the personality criteria even if only from a controversial perspective.

@mackay129 “Shocked by #SportsPersonality, Lewis is great sports man but makes Andy Murray look fun!!”

untitledEx-BBC Formula One anchor man was also surprised at the decision. Minutes earlier he posted on twitter, “I have a sneaky suspicion I’m sitting behind the winner of RT if you agree…” and posted a picture of Rory McIlroy.

untitledLewis is indeed a character, and the British media would find their column inches vastly reduced were he not a leading contender in the sport of F1. This was epitomised by an appearance from Bling adorned Roscoe on the red carpet with Lewis as he arrived at the award ceremony. Though Hamilton’s other dog Coco was conspicuous by its absence.

SPOTY then attracts the usual debate over whose achievement is greater than others. Clearly in Formula One, the race to the drivers’ title was a two horse race, where only Nico Rosberg or Lewis Hamilton would become the champion.

@raggy87 “How does Hamilton beat Rory? He beat one other driver, Rory beats top class opposition consistently #joke #SportsPersonality”

The world of golf rounded on the decision, as Lee Westwood a team mate of runner up Rory McIlroy cheekily tweeted, “Technology of the year goes to the silver and red dodgem!!! Just have to win all 4 next year @McIlroyRory!”

And Sir Nick Faldo, the last golfer to win SPOTY in 1989, simply retweeted a post from Ant and Dec, poking fun at the decision. “Rory obviously needs faster clubs. D

untitledArguments then raged on twitter as to whether Hamilton’s victory was in fact an achievement of any magnitude when compared to the feats of second place McIlroy, Joe Pavey and partially a blind skier – Kelly Gallagher – who can merely see a blurred orange outline of her guide to follow as she careers down the mountain.

@AbbyFermont “Bit fed up that #jopavey didn’t win #SportsPersonality last night – thought her achievement outshone everyone else by miles.”

However, this year’s SPOTY appears not to have captured the attention of the British public as much as in previous years. Hamilton won with 209,920 votes (33% ). Whereas in 2013 the victor was Andy Murray with 55% of the vote (401,470) and in 2012 Sir Bradly Wiggins claimed the prize for winning the Tour de France with more than double the support of Hamilton (492,064).


Hamilton appears to divide opinion sharply, with the Hamfosi defending his every word, whilst others find Lewis unpalatable at times, and the criticism following him announced as the SPOTY winner was swift indeed.

Recent articles on British tax fugitives formed the basis of an immediate twitter response criticising Hamilton’s selection for SPOTY.

@CapLaryDarf “Non dom tax dodger of the year? #SportsPersonality #sportspersonalityoftheyear”

@AlexTalbot116 “Lewis Hamilton wins the BBC Sports Personality of the Year,> encourage him to pay some UK tax. Not holding my breath. #SportsPersonality”

@nick_moore added: ‘He pays no tax, has zero personality and doesn’t even have a tv licence. How does that work? @LewisHamilton #SportsPersonality #GetInspired’

untitledJohn Torrie, added: ‘#SportsPersonality An oxymoron perpetuated by the choice of Lewis Hamilton. Proud to be born British but doesn’t want to live here among us.’

Then English bad boy footballer Joey Barton joined the fray. @Joey7Barton “Tax exiles should be exempt from winning trophies paid and voted for by the tax/licence payer.”

Lewis attempted to head all this off at the pass when he gave an interview with the Sunday Times Magazine, stating “People moan and say, ‘He doesn’t live in the country, but he’s happy to raise the flag’.

It doesn’t matter what country you live in. I was born here, man,”

untitledHamilton remarked that he did pay some UK tax and claimed, “I am contributing to the country and, not only that, I help to keep a team of more than 1,000 people employed.” Though the fact that the Formula One team from Brackley pre-existed Lewis and will most likely be there when Hamilton has retired, will be used by critics to argue Lewis’ is again out of touch with reality.

Further, due to his ‘non domecile’ status, HMRC will be entitled to around 1/20th (assuming 20 F1 races and one in the UK) of Lewis race related income, however, sponsorship arrangements registered in Monaco will not be taxed.

It appears the tax fugitive label has well and truly stuck to Hamilton, though it will be interesting to see if this perception is extended to other British sport stars who choose to reside in tax havens.

A possible solution suggested on twitter when the matter of tax exiles and patriotism was raised during the Abu Dhabi weekend, would be for all the sports stars to step up to the plate and state their case honestly. If they disagree with the manner in which governments choose to fund the wheels of British society and that British sports starts are unfairly treated by the UK tax system, maybe they should come out and say so.

Amusingly, as Hamilton dashed to make the midnight deadline to be ‘out of the country’, he published a short video – thanking his fans for their support – from his private jet bound for Monaco.


Life after Formula One

First there was the Toro Rosso Massacre; then the Sauber Salughter, which saw both 2014 drivers evicted for the 2015 season.

However, for the ex-Sauber driver Estaban Gutuirrez, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

“While confirming our full confidence in a formidable race driver pairing, made up of four times World Champion Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, a past champion with Ferrari, I am pleased to welcome Esteban Gutierrez,” commented the Scuderia’s Director General and Team Principal, Maurizio Arrivabene. “We are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to Esteban who, although young, has plenty of experience relating to the new generation of Formula 1 cars. I am sure that, with his experience, he will make an important contribution to the development work of the team in the simulator. Welcoming Esteban also means opening the gates of Ferrari to a driver from Mexico, a country where the Scuderia still has a lot of fans, just as was the case fifty years ago in the days of the Rodriguez brothers.”

Gutierrez responds, “It is an honour to become part of the Scuderia Ferrari family, a Team with such an exceptional history. It is for me the beginning of a new path for my future and I’m going to do my utmost to contribute to the achievement of the targets set by the Scuderia. I want to thank everybody for their belief in my potential; this will bring a great opportunity for me to develop further.”

Meanwhile, the latest victim of the Toro Rosso – Tost Toasting – Jean Eric Vergne, acquitted hiumself well during his first Formula E race in Uraguy. The Frenchman was second on the penultimate lap, with a fan boost of power to come – when his Virgin Racing car broke down – and ending his race long challenge.

81 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 15th December 2014

    • Whatever Barton!

      By the way, Lewis did an interview saying he does pay quite a lot of money in the UK as well as other countries.

      In any case, I wasn’t expecting Lewis to win actually, I thought McIlroy would take this. But Barton saying everyone else was more deserving is absolute nonsense. At the end of the day the public votes and Lewis deserves it. And it’s only natural that high profile sports and popular sportsmen will get this. Mansell won in ’86 when he didn’t win the title and let’s not forget that year Lineker won the Golden Boot at the World Cup that year!

    • I’m sure the BBC will realise their mistake, cancel the public vote, and graciously ask Joey to choose the winner next year.

      That would be the only reasonable response.

      • So Button and Hamilton didn’t have the infrastructure advantages of England growing up? Never went to school or used the hospitals or drove on the roads or used any of the other public facilities supported by taxes? Because they are wealthy, now, that eliminates their responsibility to support the pension fund or infrastructure funding through their working lives? I don’t understand how anyone could support that kind of thinking.

      • I’m not sure what taxation of overseas athletes has to do with a British citizen moving to a tax shelter. “Pursuing your moral crusade” LOL. Nothing wrong with morality.

    • Do you think if Hamilton had grown up, in his Father’s native country of, Grenada he would have been a racer? Could he not have “the good life” if he were to pay taxes on his $20 million a year income? Not paying taxes is unpatriotic.

      • Seriously???

        Just out of curiosity, “Was it the tax payers who paid for him to go racing or was it his dad and his 4 jobs followed by the backing of McLaren and Mercedes?”

        • Anthony Hamilton’s Father’s parents moved their family to England to give them a better life; more opportunity. It was the opportunity of being born and raised in England that gave Lewis Hamilton his opportunity. It’s relevance is the example.

          • So you would have less of a problem if the British man Lewis Hamilton had had a father that was born in England?

            A person who has a parent from abroad owes the country more? I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, just trying to understand why his father’s heritage makes a difference

        • It was an example of the benefit of living in a country like England. I have no problem where his Father was from merely pointing out that had Hamilton’s Grandfather not emigrated to England that Anthony Hamilton’s child would not have been a multi millionaire race car driver. The land you are born in is a big factor in providing, or not, the opportunities you have. I believe there is an obligation to give back to the land that gave the opportunity. I feel the same way about Vettel, Raikkonen, Button, Schumacher and all the others, racers or not, who start to make large money and then run off to a tax haven. They take all the advantages, schools, health care, security, transportation systems etc., etc and give nothing back. All of the people that do this could afford to pay taxes and it would make no difference to their lifestyle. It’s selfish and greedy.

          • They take all the advantages, schools, health care, security, transportation systems etc., etc and give nothing back.

            If you knew much about the UK tax system, you would realise this is not true. In fact, most drivers are likely to be liable for tax on their earnings in the UK (eg Silverstone).
            This is likely to be quit a lot of cash – and similarly in some other tax jurisdictions, though not all (which might explain the continued appeal of Monaco, and some of the more recent additions to the calendar).

            And I’m not sure Hamilton is going to be much of a strain on social security…

    • Quite why anyone should pay attention to the opinion of someone who’s twice been convicted of violent attacks, and whose brother was convicted of the racially-motivated murder of Anthony Walker, is beyond me.
      I don’t understand how he thinks he is qualified to label Hamilton ” a terrible role model to any Britain (sic) ” {exactly how many Britains are there, Joey? Did you mean Briton?}.
      Not to mention labeling F1 the most boring sport, then waxing lyrical about a golf champion, for Christsakes.

      • Nigel, I could work from another country and lower my taxes but don’t.

        My sister, who is extremely highly paid, works all over the world including England. She could easily base her income in any of the tax havens in the world but she doesn’t. She feels the moral obligation to support her country financially.

        I would bet that there are very few places Hamilton (or any of them) are required to pay income tax for the races there.

  1. Well I guess we now know why Still I Surprise has been so quiet…. He has had to concentrate on his football!

    Regards Mike

      • I was rather speculating that he and J. Barton esq were one and the same.

        I know what team he would never support of course…. Hamilton in Scotland 😀

        Regards Mike

    • I’m sure SIS Esq, having had his “fun” baiting the Lewis disciples, has now moved on figuratively and literally. Clearly some ppl around here are yet to do so…

  2. I frequently wonder if some websites would be more popular if they put a stop to the negative comments about Lewis Hamilton. Far too many articles or forum posts are made about Lewis without one scrap of proof to back up the crap being written. No other driver receives so much negativity, I can only believe most of it is based on the racist beliefs of the writers.
    By the way, I’d like to think that the BBC award is a kick in the goolies for Ron Dennis after his pathetic attempt to whitewash the events of 2007.

  3. “David Coulthard wins Race of Champions 2014”

    DC beats the young guns, and the off road specialists, at their own game.

    • I’d be more impressed wuth DC’s efforts if the series was actually any good. I saw some RoC highlights last year and a thought it was spectacularly dull – and I’m known for being keen on pretty much any motorsport at all. Sterile, colourless, pointless.
      The teams are pretty random – Mick Doohan? Total legend in his day, but …err… the guy can barely walk these days.
      Solutions? I’m thinking demo derbies, drifting, monster trucks and top fuel drag cars.

      • Don’t forget ‘track limits’ in an indoor time trial contest – they might as well implement a speed limit and let the winner be crowned by a lottery!

      • Mick Doohan said it might be more fair if they had bikes as well:)

        They had monster trucks this year…one got rolled and they were all pretty exciting to watch…wheels off the ground going around corners!

        It was great to see Susie Wolf win some races…

        It was also interesting to see the different driving styles…Petter Solberg struggled with the rally cross car – too much rear sliding making him slower, whereas DC drove the same car as if it was on rails…

        Kristensen hardly put a wheel wrong on day 1 but DC was definitely the best driver on day 2…though anything could have happened as it was sudden death until the finals…

        I guess you can tell I enjoyed watching it:)

  4. Off topic a little, but it was nice to see JEV do so well in the Formula-E this weekend. He took pole 1st time out and would I believe took the win but for an issue with his ‘fan boost’ and eventually his car losing drive just a lap or 3 before the end, but still ot was a very good showing from the Frenchman.
    Also they got the camera angles much better at this round so the cars looked much faster and the track was a much better lay-out, the cars were sliding everywhere, it was good close racing. I’m waiting to see a wet race, could be interesting with all that electricity!

    • Seeing JEV do that well did somewhat shine a light on the ability of the other drivers in that series. I’m hoping that things pick up for Formula-E, but the cringeworthy #fanboost shenanigans and massive gaps between races count against it for me.

      I agree about this latest race coming across better though – that’s somewhat understandable though as I guess they’ll be feeling out how to run weekends and the best way to film/edit/produce the content as they go. It seems that a light coating of sand all over the track certainly does spice things up a bit. The highlights from qualifying looked like someone learning to play a computer game…

    • I was also cheering for JEV…pole at his first race was brilliant:)

      It was harder to pass at this track which didn’t help JEV…and he pitted just before the safety car just after he’d managed to get the lead which put him back behind a couple of drivers again…bad luck…and then his car failed…but a great race…and the next race is in January, along with World Rally…so only a few weeks to wait…instead of months until the F1 starts:)

  5. There are a lot of people suggesting if they were earning £20M a year they would stay in UK/Ireland or wherever and gladly pay over £10M it in tax rather than move to Monaco, have better weather, no slums and pay None. They’re all nutters!

    • So Hamilton would have no deductions and have to pay 50% tax on his income in England? Only the average citizen and the poor should pay taxes? That’s the right way? They shouldn’t contribute to the schools, hospitals, policing, military, roads etc. if they can avoid it? I’m sure he could pay his share of the taxes in his homeland and still have a pretty nice vacation home and his personal jet to fly him anywhere he wants. You can describe the rich that pay financial support to their country “nutters” I would call them decent people and patriots. He loves to wrap himself in the Union Jack as long as he doesn’t have to pay for the nation it represents.

      • So I guess him saying that he pays his fair share of taxes in the UK as irrelevant, right?

        Furthermore, did HMRC publish a list of those who do and don’t pay taxes?

        Patriotism is not defined by whether you pay taxes or not.

        • @Fortis Lewis didn’t say he paid his fair share. He said…

          “What people don’t realise is that I pay tax here, but I don’t earn all my money here. I race in 19 different countries, so I earn my money in 20 different places and I pay tax in several different places, and I pay a lot here as well.”

          • Ok, he didn’t use the word “fair”, but i’d figured you’d get the point i was trying to make.

            So the point still stands, he pays taxes, so that refutes the claim that he doesn’t.

          • …. but it is the point – tax exiles seek refuge in tax havens because they don’t believe a ‘fair’ amount is being expected of them in their own countries.

            Further, Lewis also claims he is somehow directly responsible for there being 1,000 jobs in the UK – which is not really true.

          • So why was my comment removed?

            You’ve engaged in a conversation with me and I’m merely replying, not even that I’m allowed to do?

          • Site is modding when above a certain % of last 1,000 comments is reached.

            …..you are still 120% of the next highest commentator…. so same reason… nobody else is in danger of hitting that level…

    • Nigel Mansell lived in Isle of Man to avoid taxes and currently resides in Jersey. Many of the sports highest earners lived abroad. But many people don’t realise that the reason Schumacher, Vettel and co live in Switzerland is to a racing driver their profession is not recognised so therefore they pay no tax…

    • Wolff mentioned that in an interview a week ago, so it was a bit much for Autosport to claim it as some kind of scoop.
      Interesting, though, and puts a slightly different (rather more even-handed) spin on the team’s treatment of the incident.

      • … if you google ‘Nico Rosberg disciplined’, you’ll find the BBC, The Times and page after page of publications carrying the story.

        This clearly hit Mercedes radar in September, yet they chose not to be ‘even handed’ and respond.

        What Wolff now says may be true, however, the message from Mercedes at the time was clear to all – and this does not change that.

  6. If anyone, in all honesty, hand on heart, says and believes that if they were earning gazillions they would stay and pay their tax in Britain, or Scandinavia for example which is even higher, instead of moving to Monaco and Switzerland, then I’ll stand up and listen to your criticism towards Lewis and other sport stars.

    Otherwise, sit down and think twice! And by that, I mean try to have a conversation and see where the real cause of all this is and even try and see what good can come from this.

    And if you want to do something about it, then don’t forget we all vote for that political system that perpetuates all these loop holes in our tax system.

    It’s so easy to ‘cry wolf’ isn’t it? So let me ask an ‘easy’ question then. What will bring more money in terms of tax revenues, lower the tax rate to 10% and get all the billionaires flooding in, or have it at 50% and get our revenues from some millionaires. What’s more? Not so easy when you start digging deeper and that is just a very superficial dilemma/question.

    • Charge the working man 45% on all his earnings and charge the major corporations a minuscule 25%, which some still don’t pay.

        • And who do you think makes money off the labor of the workers? Businesses are not ‘providing’ anything; they’re hiring people so they can make a profit from their labor. I’m not saying that’s wrong, but your comment is ignoring a bit of stuff.

    • McLaren78, I’m sure there are many that do make “gazillions” and do stay and pay their taxes. In Canada, my country, about 65% of my income goes to one form of tax or another. I’m in the highest income tax bracket. I take the deductions my accountant say’s I can, I bitch about what I pay but I pay it because the taxes raised are what makes our country a great place to live.

      I find it hard to believe that there are no tax deductions available in England.

      • Of course there are tax deductions in England and ‘creative’ ways to save money. A friend of mine is a tax advisor and big companies employ his firm to save them millions in tax. Any here’s my point. Everyone’s trying to save a bit of money and pay a little less tax, same principle as someone moving to Monaco to save paying more tax. So Lewis )or whoever less) is not a patriot because he saves more than someone who finds some loop hole to save a bit?
        Plus, someone being in the higher tax bracket doesn’t mean that he can afford 3-4 houses around the world and moving to Monaco or Switzerland.

        I’m not trying to justify those sport stars moving to tax havens. All I’m trying to say is that things are not simple as they seem and before we cast the first stone let’s think twice.

        This is an F1 forum and I find it tiring arguing about Lewis’ patriotism, ethics etc when the issue is much wider and has a deep political and cultural undertone.

        • “This is an F1 forum and I find it tiring arguing about Lewis’ patriotism, ethics etc when the issue is much wider and has a deep political and cultural undertone”.

          It is an issue raised by those writing in the media about Formula 1 – and their subject was Lewis Hamilton.

          The comment concluding the TJ13 article refers to all sports stars and does not single Lewis out as the only tax exile.

          Yet there is in the US and a number of countries besides the UK – a debate/question – which maybe heightened since the global financial crisis – which citizens are asking of all companies and individuals who claim patriotism – but avoid tax which run the society they claim to be patriotic about.

          • All of which is fair enough, but…

            The argument which broke out here was related to the choice of SPOTY, and unless you were arguing that Jo Pavey ought to have won (something I wouldn’t be against), we were basically looking at one tax sheltered millionaire versus another tax sheltered millionaire.

            (I can almost guarantee that a choice of MacIlroy would have occasioned no such debate… and anyway I hate golf.)

            Secondly, global tax reform, with international agreements to outlaw ultra low tax regimes, is far more realistic (however difficult) than expecting many individuals to be shamed into volunteering to pay more tax.

          • …That may be the case…

            But the root of this story lies in public opinion – it was first written during the week after Abu Dhabi because a certain newspaper had an unprecedented response (given the normative levels they receive) to an article they wrote about Hamilton – they then wrote about sport stars and tax fugitives, asking the question whether they really have the right to glory in the flag and claim to be patriotic.

            As I suggested, some believe the world has changed since the global financial crisis. Following this event, the UK had the highest levels of personal and public debt per head of population of all the western economies – so the tax payers of the UK may well be rather more sensitive to issues of tax exiles than were previously.

            Last night was primarily about the best of British sport – so the question was raised again.

        • Moving to another country is not a “loophole”. He’s not saving a little more he is avoiding paying taxes. They don’t move to Monaco or Switzerland for the climates.

          I didn’t bring up the topic of Hamilton’s tax evasion. I expressed my point of view. I feel the same about Raikkonen, Vettel, Schumacher, Button and any other tax dodger regardless of profession,race, colour, creed, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or any other reason you care to add to the list.

          For me it is very simple. If you love your country you support it and that includes paying the taxes you are legally obligated to pay.

          • So let me ask this. If those sport stars had moved to Scandinavia and were paying 60-70% in taxes, would you react the same way? Probably not!

            I’m not trying to justify them and I do agree with you. The more you earn, the more responsibility you have to give back to the community.

            But the world nowadays is a bit more complicated. I grew up in a different country and been living in the UK since I was 17. I work and pay my taxes here. Does that mean that I don’t love my country of origin? Does it mean that I have to go back and pay my taxes there to prove it? If I achieve something big here I won’t be an ambassador for my country of origin, but a traitor?

            It’s not as simple as we think. It’s easier to judge the rich and I’m with you on this. But when you start looking at the ethics of it all, money or status shouldn’t count, it’s the principle of it.

          • “In the context of overseas athletes, the general rule is that the number of days that a non-UK resident athlete spends training or competing in the UK in a year is apportioned on the basis of the proportion of events that the athlete trains and competes around the world”.

            This involves the British GP weekend, plus ‘training’ time at the team’s base (which many would be surprised to know is numbered in days, rather than months each year) – but does not include any promotional events/social occasions where the sponsor contracts/payments are declared in an overseas jurisdiction.

          • @ McMaster “If you love your country you support it and that includes paying the taxes you are legally obligated to pay.”

            Er…he IS paying the UK taxes that he is legally obligated to pay. Unless there is a warrant out for his arrest that we’re not aware of…

            He is simply using quite legal means to minimise those taxes – just as you are when you claim the deductions that your accountant advises you to.

            I understand that you might not like it, and you think that there is a moral argument against what he’s doing, but he is playing by the rules. He’s not choosing to pay all the taxes that he might have to if he didn’t use these legal means; but then nor are you…nor am I.

            That the amounts involved are vastly different isn’t the point in a moral argument.

        • Oh come on McLaren they are not moving to countries in Scandinavia. I don’t see how your personal story is in anyway related to the topic. You have to compare apples to apples.

          • As I said, I don’t disagree with you, I’m just looking at it from a different angle and not going as far as calling someone not a patriot, not having the right to wave the flag, not having the right to win a BBC award etc.

            Because if that’s the case and we start applying the reverse rule then we may have to start deporting a few oligarchs and billionaires. Not to mention quite a number of large corporations.

            Anyhow. Really enjoyed the debate. I only wished there was a TJ pub somewhere for us all to gather, argue, and after the 9th pint agree and ‘hug’ each other 🙂

          • don’t see how your personal story is in anyway related to the topic

            While yours (in the post to which he replied), is ?

            Are you working in a score of different countries throughout the year?

            In any event, a debate over the acceptability of continued existence tax havens (it would be very easy for the EU, for example, to do something about Monaco, or Luxembourg) might be rather more productive than one over the relative moral positions of sports stars…

          • ….Just because something CAN be done – doesn’t make it right; some would argue what is perceived as ‘jingoistic patriotism’ then exacerbates the problem.

          • Nigel – Indeed. JC Juncker could do so – oh wait, he was Lux PM and got the top job after helping big corps evade tax. Maybe not then.

          • Again judge, this is a moral issue……

            And moral in me says, if I was in his position, I’d do the samething…… 😉

          • @TJ13: “….Just because something CAN be done – doesn’t make it right; some would argue what is perceived as ‘jingoistic patriotism’ then exacerbates the problem.”

            I would fully agree. But where is the hurrumphing about Jenson who, until recently, always wore the union jack on his helmet; or DC with his saltire; Jackie Stewart with his tartan, etc.?

            Seems all a little too double-standard-ish to me (just like people are happy to claim tax-reducing deduction opportunities that are available to them, but somehow think someone else shouldn’t be allowed to use their own tax-reduction opportunities).

          • …. I haven’t hurrumphed about Lewis in particular. The article says “all sports stars” – Lewis happens to be the media story at present…. Mansell, Coulthard, Button…. Ecclestone… all choose to be non-resident to avoid UK tax payable by someone earning what they do.

          • Fair comment, Judge, that wasn’t specifically aimed at you or the original article – nor, necessarily, the commenters here…although there is an element of that within some of the debate.

          • Let me ask this then, had McIlroy won, do we think we’d have had tons of people throwing comments about him residing in Florida? Yeah, he has a place here too, but he is in a similar tax situation to Lewis. Folks have it in for Hamilton, and it is causing a polarisation of Hamilton fans and detractors, and its why the ‘Hamfosi’ exist, and why this will continue to spiral until one side or the other calls ceasfire. Communities under ‘attack’ (a bit excessive but I hope you get my point) often respond in this hostile and mindless manner, and accept criticism less ably. It doesn’t matter whether its religion, race, sports, or any silly hobby.

      • There are taxable deductions in the UK, but those are mainly for sole traders and not P.A.Y.E (pay as you earn) individuals.

        • Although I don’t know British tax law, I feel fairly confident that there could be corporate structuring put in place to relieve much of the tax burden (I use that word for lack of better).

    • I don’t have any links to it right now, but that’s not really the case. I seem to remember it being a throw-away comment in a press conference that got taken out of context, especially bearing in mind it was based around a question about something Nico had said about himself previously.

  7. It seems a little trite to harp on about the tax arrangements of one F1 driver without any mention of the tax arrangements of all the team principles/team owners, not to mention the fantastic avoidance of tax by a certain Mr. B Ecclestone.

  8. You can describe the rich that pay financial support to their country “nutters” I would call them decent people and patriots….

    Now McMaster listen up buck, I just read your comment on my earlier post. The nutters are the people giving out about what the rich guy chooses to do and where he chooses to live. Will you be suggesting that he goes out with his ugly mates bird next you nutter? I’m no fan of our Lewis and his taste in jewellery will never help him on in life and as a dog lover I feel really sorry for Bosco or whatever his name is…..

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