Lewis Hamilton shunned by UK sports fans

hammy broody

In a trailer for the BBC sports personality of the year awards, David Coultard described Lewis Hamilton as someone who ‘transcended Formula One’ and who was a ‘global megastar’. SPOTY is an annual awards ceremony is traditionally aired the Sunday before Christmas, and serves as a review of the global sporting year as it comes to an end.

This awards ceremony captivates the British sport viewing public in such a manner that the BBC’s main rival ITV, capitulated last night in the battle for the TV ratings by offering the Sound of Music as their alternative.

As was on track, Lewis was defending his 2014 title winning performance at SPOTY having captured the award last year. But the battle for SPOTY was tight in 2014 and Hamilton scored the least votes as a winner since this information was published.

For the 2015 award, prior to the event the bookies top five included Andy Murray (tennis), Tyson Fury (boxing), Kevin Sinfield (rugby league), Jessica Ennis (athletics) and Lewis Hamilton (F1).

In the minds of the F1 intelligentsia, becoming a three times F1 world driver champion affords an individual an almost immortal status, with adjectives like ‘global icon’ and ‘megastar’ regularly banded around. Yet on December 20th 2015, the British sport viewing public delivered a different verdict. Andy Murray won the title of British Sport’s Personality of the year, with a resounding 361,000 votes.

Kevin Sinfield, who captained his side to a treble in the minority sport of Rugby League, was second with 278,000 votes and athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill was third having won the IAAF world athletics title in the Heptathlon for the second time.

Lewis Hamilton came in fifth with just 48,000 votes behind the controversial English boxer Tyson Fury who recently beat Vladimir Klitschko to the world heavyweight title. Fury has been castigated in the British media since his world title win for making homophobic and sexist comments.

Last week, Fury told the media he though that Jessica Ennis-Hill, “slaps up good,” adding, “A woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back – that’s my personal belief.” Tyson Fury also stated he believed homosexuality and abortion were akin to paedophilia claiming this came straight from “the holy scriptures”. His remarks were then placed on the agenda for the next meeting of the British Boxing Board of Control.

Yet Fury polled 50% more votes than Hamilton’s 48,000 which raises some interesting questions.

Lewis Hamilton is adored by his fans, but is often a polarizing character amongst his countrymen and the UK media. The British press hounded Hamilton following his SPOTY win in 2014 for comments he made about loving the British flag, whilst he lives in a tax haven.

Yet despite the pro-against Hamilton that wars that rage on websites across the world, tonight’s SPOTY vote is another indictments of the state of Formula One. To win this award a sportsperson must captivate more than their core fan base, they need the attention of the British sport’s viewing public at large. So despite F1 being the second most recognized category in the history of SPOTY, tonight Lewis was nowhere.

That said, all this could aswell be seen an indictment against the current state of Formula One, where even the CEO of the sport describes it as ‘a shit product.’ The Red Bull – Renault civil war has played badly with the fans too this year along with the Mercedes dominance, set to continue into 2016.

Lewis Hamilton last night may well have been the victim of the impression that Formula One is becoming more and more irrelevant as a sporting event. The British voters made their position clear last night when they said, winning a third F1 drivers’ world title was almost 100% less valuable than Ennis-Hill’s second world title in the Heptathlon.

30 responses to “Lewis Hamilton shunned by UK sports fans

  1. He could have won if he stayed in Britain all year long and only attended events in this country, but it seems he likes being all around the world, and who doesn’t? But some nations are kinda funny about things like that. I remember there was a public outcry when he went to live in Monaco instead of staying in good old Stevenage 🙂

    • Tax exiles do get a much harder time these days than when Coultard et al were all moving to Monaco. The entire French Tennis team were vilified in the french media during last year’s Davis Cup final – because they all lived in Switzerland.

      • So tax exiles only started to get a much harder time when Lewis decided he’d rather live somewhere else and save himself a few million in taxes? (Even though he does pay taxes in the UK) So I guess no one really cared that JB, DC, JS etc where all doing it before then?

        • No…. rich tax exiles across Europe have been lambasted by their home media and countryman following the biggest financial crisis since the 1930’s. People’s views have changed about the tax avoidance of the rich playboys and girls from their home countries. Unfortunately, this cannot be argued as merely Lewis’ victimisation. Like other sports/celebrity folk he’s failed to grasp the mass public sentiment.

          And as far as Lewis saying he pays UK tax, you’ll be referring to Lewis’ claim: ‘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. I am contributing to the country and, not only that, I help keep a team of more than 1,000 people employed. I am part of a much bigger picture.’

          Clearly in Lewis’ mind, many – if not all – of the Mercedes F1 workforce would be out of jobs if Lewis didn’t race for the team. Another example of speaking and not thinking.

          And for the record, he pays tax ONLY on his incidental income from promotional work done in the UK, which is a fraction of the 25 million he receives from Mercedes as a driver and all the other promotional income done outside the UK.

          ‘A lot’ of tax is a truism – but only relative to a current day normal person working two jobs in Stevenage and paying for their son to compete in karting and be educated by the state.

          By comparison, Mark Webber was and is a UK resident and paid full UK tax. There’s a proper patriot.

          Anyway enough of this – let’s tax the masses and cut out of work benefits because Lewis, Coultard et al, Starbucks and Google are all dodging the tax system. At least Google and Starbucks (and Webber) don’t shroud themsleves in the Union Jack

          • Really? I’m yet to see an exposé written lambasting any of the drivers I referenced above. I’m yet to see JB consistently being labelled a ‘tax exile’ or ‘tax dodger’ by anyone. So clearly there’s a significant amount of double standards being shown towards Lewis by the mainstream media. No other Uk athlete is subjected to this level of criticism for something that is not an illegal practice. Even the recently crowned SPOTY Andy Murray who if I’m correct resides in Florida along with fellow golfers Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Rory, whose tax laws are very favourable which they’re all taking advantage of. Dont blame or criticise an individual for exploiting the loopholes within the system, blame those who write the rules for not doing a better job.

            I find the entire thing to be a pointless debate, because even if he only pays taxes on his ‘incidental income’, he still pays something, which is significantly better than most. Hmm like for example none other than the head honcho himself Bernie Eccelstone who has been brought in front of the courts an numerous occasions for unpaid taxes. Which in 2013 was in excess of £1b.

            “Webber’s a true patriot”….hmmm so does that mean the people of his native country Australia should label him a sell out and a tax dodger/exile etc? And that ‘true patriot’ still wraps himself in the Australian flag.

            So patriotism is now defined by whether you pay taxes or not?….hmmm ok. Guess there’s some very unpatriotic people residing all over the globe then.

          • Yup that’s it alright, it’s his personality/attitude… Why can’t he be like Jenson? 😉😉

  2. When was the last time someone defended a SPOTY award? Actually it seems it’s never happened (thanks google).

    I decided to have a look when a winner actually got into the top 3 the following year, turns out it was Radcliffe in 2002-2003. So I guess you could say this years result is to be expected. Then again that makes for a far less exciting, and shorter, story!

    • Ah… but Damon Hill has won it twice despite being a one time F1 WDC and a less stellar driver than Lewis – clearly he is more loved by the British sporting public at large 😉

      (PS…. I recommend you’d be better just belittling the event, rather than try to justify Lewis’ poor performance this year)

      Then again we could published the comments made on this site last year from the jubilant, massed ranks of the Hamfosi

      • Well he did take it to that nasty other driver after all.

        I guess you could say it’s poetically ironic that with one win and two seconds Hamilton is currently tied in the all time list with a certain David Beckham.

      • What?! Question: When was the last time someone defended a SPOTY award? Answer: Ah… but Damon Hill has won it twice despite being a one time F1 WDC and a less stellar driver than Lewis – clearly he is more loved by the British sporting public at large. The play-it-off emoticon notwithstanding, your answer makes it apparent you have some dislike of Lewis Hamilton that consistently rears its ugly head, even if it means committing to answer as illogically as a loon.

        Damon Hill kept a stiff upper lip and has maintained to this day the lie that Ayrton Senna died by either accident or at his own hand, despite the fact that Patrick Head was, ultimately, convicted of manslaughter for Senna’s death (a kind legal way of saying Head may well have committed murder). Perhaps Hill won his second SPOTY for his silence, just as Frank Williams was knighted for his.

      • I kind of expected Lewis not to do well for various reasons, not really worth going into. Even if he had have done well, Murray would have still won given the Davis Cup Final win is still fresh in the minds of the public.
        Lewis appears to be of the any PR is good PR mindset these days.

        As for Damon Hill ? I think his overall charm and a certain German cheating to win helped his cause a bit in the public’s eye.

  3. “Lewis Hamilton last night may well have been the victim of the impression that Formula One is becoming more and more irrelevant as a sporting event.” No, Lewis was a victim of his own mouth and petulant behavior. I doubt he’s going to change that anytime soon. Hopefully Rosberg can expedite the change needed.

    • Hmmm guess you’ve probably never seen Murray play then….. Fine upstanding gentleman he is, never utters a foul mouth tirade at officials, spectators or opponents.

      As for Rosberg, I think this time next year, you’ll be just as mad and repeating the same thing.

  4. The milk’s going to be curdled again tomorrow. The udder is clearly in a tangle again……..

  5. Is this yet another indication that F1 just isn’t connecting with the “casual” viewer anymore?
    Casual viewers put entertainment first. F1 doesn’t.
    The problem lay somewhere therein.

  6. I doubt if most of the punters know where Lewis lives. I think that F1 had a boring season in the sense that Lewis had little competition for most of the time. However, being a tax exile means that he will probably not get a knighthood. As for SPOTY it is a thoroughly contrived piece of cheap chav entertainment for the BBC. Many years ago you could vote for anyone who you thought was meritworthy. Now you can only vote for a list selected by the great and the good. The BBC used to chose themselves but I think even they had to bring in a few journalists because of that criticism but the list is still the people THEY decide on, not you. I just ignore it.

  7. Hamilton wasn’t shunned, he just didn’t do anything that grabbed headlines this year. To win SPOTY you have to grab the attention of more than just the fans of your sport. You have to get people who don’t follow your sport to pay attention.

    Hamilton cruised to the title with several races to spare, and while it was a great achievement, it didn’t get the level of press coverage that his win last year did. Andy Murray on the other hand, pretty much single-handedly won the Davis Cup for Great Britain. That was a truly unexpected and incredible achievement. Couple that with the fact Tennis is a far more popular sport than F1, and it is hardly a surprise he won.

  8. Us reserved Brits don’t like the jet setting, hip hop stardom that Hamilton now craves. Although I’m a fan, I must admit that I have stopped following him on social media because all he posts about now is his bros and homies. Last year it was not so bad but now it is intolerable. Brits like their heroes to be humble and have a way of voting with our feet. Btw I think Jess Ennis-Hill should have won SPOTY.

  9. The reason he may not have scored as many votes is the fault of the BBC who dumped half the races so the general public have lost interest as they cannot follow the whole season properly. Now the BBC have now dumped it completely so things will now only get worse in this country.

    • BBC only had same number of races last year when Lewis won.

      Channel 4 have proven innovative in the limited sports production they have undertaken. There will be no mid-race adverts, unlike previously on ITV – and the BBC presenter offering had grown very tired for many.

  10. “LEWIS HAMILTON SHUNNED BY UK SPORTS FANS”…… screams the headline. What about all the others that didn’t win, I ask?

  11. I have to admit that the last few months this site has resolved to…how should I say it…negative publicity. Anything good, doesn’t really deserve a full article. And then we blame Bernie for trying to drive down the value of F1.

    Let me give you an example. There have been numerous articles lately, in other sites, whereby Ferrari praise non end a certain Seb Vettel. I’m not a fan of his or his team, but haven’t really seen many articles. All you see is anything negative about Hamilton, about F1…oh yeah, and one about Rosberg and how his contract negotiations may get protracted through the season.

    And I bet, if Hamilton had won SPOTY, there would have been an article half the length and strictly factual. While now there seems to be a negative undertone about his appeal to fans and the state of F1.

    Come on judge, let’s start seeing the cup half full, should we?

    • Unfortunately the reality is that for Formula One the cup is about 90% empty at present. Also, if you want to see ‘he says. she says’ quote ridden articles all from one primary interview source – TJ13 is not the place to be.

    • You miss the point completely, old son.
      The point is there is a 4 pronged cows udder out there that rises to the bait every time.
      And the result of that is a stream of click bait crap.
      Simples 🙂
      Have a good Chrissy……

  12. What an absolutely pointless debate! The writer clearly dislikes Lewis Hamilton. Why pick on Hamilton? What about all the other candidates that were “shunned”? At least Hamilton has won the thing (2014)—something Jenson never managed. Get off his back. Typical media always looking to bring Hamilton down,,,,….

  13. Don’t blame the driver.

    The real lack of interest stems from the fact that only half the races are shown on FTA TV. That, in turn, leads to many not bothering to watch at all. It is estimated that the Pay-TV (Sky) audience is only around half a million. The situation hasn’t been helped by only two other teams showing any real challenge, and then only occasionally. All this is a pity because, in my opinion, Lewis is one of the best UK racers we have seen for a long, long time.

    The BTCC used a different model to money grabbing Bernie. Alan J Gow has stated he would rather cultivate a larger audience than a lucrative TV contract. His argument seems sound as the gate for most BTCC rounds is most impressive for a lesser formula.

  14. I suspect there were several things at play here.

    Firstly, there seems to be a feeling throughout the media that repeat winners of awards and titles like this aren’t a good idea. I remember when Classic FM decided they didn’t want Max Bruch to be No 1 again and simply didn’t play the piece at all in the run up to the vote.

    It may be more subtle but you usually find the result of these votes is swayed by the surrounding publicity and this year it didn’t favour Lewis.

    Secondly, I think Tyson Fury is part of the reason for the way the vote panned out. A lot of people didn’t want him to win – almost an extension of my first point as a lot of this was channeled by the press. Fury himself probably got votes as a result of this but people who didn’t want him to win probably voted when they normally wouldn’t – and unfortunately not for Lewis.

    Lastly, there were a lot of ‘good news’ stories about the top three this year, but nothing – other than another title – for Lewis. Andy has become more of a ‘person’ to his fans, rather than someone who talks little and in a monotone. Kevin obviously had his corner pushed by someone and got a lot of votes as a result and Jessica has performed well for a long time as well as a few other personal things which have endeared her to the public.

    Mind you, I would question the assertion that Rugby League is a minority sport. While I don’t watch it myself I’d hazard a guess that on the average weekend there are more people watching and playing it in the UK than watching or taking part in motor sport…

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