Lewis Hamilton is only the second driver in Formula One history to win seven drivers’ world championships alongside the legendary Michael Schumacher. Yet unlike in the days of the ferry Maestro, Hamilton has a global platform to delver good and his Mission 44 programme is expressly designed to promote opportunity for those from a diverse background who otherwise would never get the oxygen they need.
The British driver’s latest commercial partnership sees him promote a nonalcoholic spirit crafted similarly to tequila, made from blue agave from Jalisco, Mexico, which coincidentally launches on the day before the Mexican Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton ‘loves tequila’ – allegedly
“I’ve always loved tequila for its taste, but there are times when I don’t want the alcohol part of the deal and I know that there is a growing group of people who want the same,” Hamilton told WWD in an exclusive statement.
“It’s what led me to teaming up with Iván and Casa Lumbre, because I knew if anyone could make the drink I was after it would be them,” he continued.
“With Almave, we’re all about offering a high-quality option that doesn’t compromise on the craft and flavors of tequila and provides a truly authentic nonalcoholic blue agave experience. We’ve held on to the legacy and tequila-making traditions, but what we’ve come up [with] is a spirit that’s totally unique.”
That of course sounds just like Lewis speak – NOT – and as the ageing Mercedes driver draws to the end of his career raises the question as to why he really remains in Formula One.
A radical tequila brewing process
Iván Saldaña, quoted as Lewis’ business partner and cofounder, is the master distiller at Casa Lumbre, the Mexico-based spirits producer. He makes the claim, Almave is the only nonalcoholic product to use the blue agave, according to the company. It’s much like making tequila, but skips the fermentation process where the liquid becomes alcohol.
They offer two nonalcoholic options (at 20 calories per 20-oz. serving): Almave Ámbar, which is designed for sipping, and Almave Blanco, made for mixing. Retailing at $38.99 and $36.99, respectively, for a 700-ml. bottle, Almave plans to enter retailers and bars in the U.S. and in select international markets in 2024
“I’ve studied agave for many years, so the opportunity to create Almave, a first-of-its-kind distilled blue agave spirit without alcohol, was an exciting endeavor,” said Saldaña.
“Together at Casa Lumbre, we developed a unique production method that allowed us to retain the traditional distillation methods used in tequila making, still using blue agave, but we skipped the fermentation step.
Hamilton: ‘Saving the world?”
“This resulted in a nonalcoholic spirit unlike anything else on the market.”
“However, it was truly working alongside Lewis Hamilton who shared my passion for this project that made it even more fulfilling. Lewis has always inspired me so when he approached us to work on Almave together, it was an easy ‘yes.’ Only someone with a true passion for innovation and creativity can achieve what he has. It was such a pleasure to bring our collective vision to life.”
So investing one’s global media presence in marketing a non-alcoholic tequila drink known for its particular properties to get people drunk is saving the world???
Hamilton the MAIN F1 equality promoter
Lewis Hamilton has been the most prominent advocate of promoting equality in Formula One for several years yet most people perceive his campaign is one of racial equality given his previous association with Black Lives Matter.
However, the British global motorsport superstar was recently called out and questioned whether he would put his money where his mouth was as TJ13 reported.
In the run up to the Qatar Grand Prix the FIA announced they had approved the application of Andretti Formula One team to join the grid as an eleventh team.
At the same time one of the other applicants revealed they had been rejected despite their diversity plans to field a female driver had they been given the green light.
New F1 team wanted a female driver
David Dicker, CEO of Rodin cars, claimed had his bid to join F1 been successful he would have fielded a female driver. The FIA application process demanded potential entrants demonstrate their diversity programme and Rodin’s effort was clearly striking in regards of this.
Rodin’s CEO cited Jamie Chadwick as his future F1 female driver, a woman who dominated the W series for three seasons and is now driving for Andretti in the IndyNXT series which serves like F2 as a feeder series for the full IndyCar championship.
Chadwick is also the Williams team development driver but is unlikely to feature as one of their mandated young drivers putting in an FP1 session for the team this year.
Since the release of the Rodin statement, Dicker has been questioned over whether he really intended to put a female in an F1 car and his reposes is clear:
The next F1 female driver
“There has been a massive amount of talk in the press quite recently about a woman in F1. We were prepared to put one in and I honestly believe that Jamie would be okay in F1. I think she’d do well,” he told the Mirror.
Dicker is clearly serious and he reveals how it was he who supported the early career of the budding Red Bull star Liam Lawson but it requires an F1 team to take things all the way for a driver with such talent.
”Look, I’ve supported Liam Lawson for five years – I’ve put more money into his career than Red Bull has – we tested him here and we tested Jamie in the same cars. Jamie can do the job, so I’d definitely be happy to put her in the car.
“It’s not like it was tokenism – I think that, especially in the F1 car where you’ve got power steering and a few other things, I think she might surprise a few people.”
Marketing tequila more important than diversity for Hamilton
Hamilton is quick to demand diversity as part of the future framing of Formula One, yet it is clear the single most ostracised group from the sport is not based on racial ethnicity, but on gender amongst the drivers.
And whilst Formula One cars are challenging to drive, the feeder series F2/F3 make it even more difficult for a woman to break through in the sport.
Simply put, the lack of power steering in Junior Formula means the challenge is unfair for women, yet Dickens is ready to press ahead with Chadwick anyway.
The Rodin CEO is clearly frustrated over all the talk about women in F1 and calls out Lewis Hamilton and others who advocate equality to put up or shut up. Then again maybe alcohol free tequila deserves more time and investment from the seven times world champion than the actual cause of diversity he has espoused loudly for a number of years.
And is Lewis move into the world of marketing new commercial setups merely a reflection that he knows his F1 career is soon to end?
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