FIA president Max Mosley believes Lewis Hamilton is not as important to Formula One as some claim – and in fact could prove to have a negative effect on the sport’s popularity.
Hamilton’s debut season in Formula One shot him to fame worldwide and increased viewership for the sport in the UK. And with the retirement of Michael Schumacher, Hamilton was branded the new leading star of the sport.
But Mosley believes he could, just like Schumacher, become a negative factor for Formula One, if he goes on to dominate for an extensive amount of time.
"If he does the same thing next season as he’s done this season, it will certainly have a big effect," Mosley told the BBC.
"It will start to be negative because we’ll get the Schumacher effect where people start writing to me saying can’t you do something to slow him down.
"He has certainly helped enormously in the UK. He’s also got a lot of interest worldwide because he’s come manifestly not from a rich background. He’s just made it.
"[But] there is always somebody new. If it wasn’t him, it would be either [Nico] Rosberg or [Robert] Kubica or one of the other new stars, a [Sebastian] Vettel, would suddenly be the big one.
"So I think there is a tendency to exaggerate the importance of Lewis Hamilton."
Mosley also downplayed the possibility that Hamilton could yet win the 2007 world championship, should McLaren win their appeal against the decision of the Brazilian Grand Prix stewards on the matter of BMW Sauber and Williams.
"It could happen, absolutely, because this will go to a court of appeal, but it’s very unlikely," he stated. "Even if [the judges] excluded [the BMW and Williams] cars, they are not obliged to reclassify Hamilton.
"There’s absolutely no need, if they don’t wish to, to change the position that Hamilton was in."
Evenstar ~ First of all, I don’t know who claimed Lewis Hamilton was God’s gift to the world of Formula One (other than the men who pleaded in the Court of Appeal during the McLaren vs Ferrari saga, not to punish the McLaren drivers) but to say that interest in Hamilton was sparked due to the fact that he wasn’t from a rich background is rather silly. He isn’t the only one. And worldwide interest? Face it Max, it’s because most of the world think pathetically like Bernie Ecclestone – Lewis was hyped and brought to spotlight for the wrong reasons – as the first ever black rookie into the sport, it was proclaimed everywhere, even on music channels. Unfortunatly for Bernie, Lewis isn’t muslim. He’s is extremely talent by the way! But he’s ike the rest of the F1 grid, not perfect and bound to make mistakes.
The reason I think Mosely is letting it down, gently or harshly – you decide, is because of the ridiculous hype that surrounded Lewis all season, he even has a road named after him in his home town Stevenage – a bit premature don’t you think? And sadly for the country, Hamilton announced he is leaving the UK for Switzerland and the British press have kicked him to the kerb. They build you up only to bring you down, and it couldn’t be more true. He isn’t going to win the title in the courts as most fickle fans would love it to happen, and Lewis knows he doesn’t want it that way and good on him. Schumacher was not negative for the sport – he was simply dominating it. All sports have their dominations and instead of actually trying to increase competition, the FIA went and threw in rules which just took him down – that’s the negative, Michael wasn’t. All winners end up being hated by some fans, it’s part of sport. It’s happened with Alonso and it’ll happen to Kimi and it’ll eventually happen to Hamilton. That doesn’t mean you go in and change the rules just to satisfy some so called ‘fans’ of the sport.
McLaren will be the last ones to pack their bags and enjoy the holidays, having to go through with their appeal in a few weeks. Hopefully, it will be the final kick in the teeth for the British press and everyone can finally move on and accept Kimi Raikkonen as the reigning world champion when the next season starts. For the fans of the sport as well as the fans of the Finn, it’s the least they can do. And cheers to that!