April 12, 2024

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Parental involvement in an F1 driver's career is a 'fine line to walk'

Parental involvement in an F1 driver's career is a 'fine line to walk'

Hamilton made the comments ahead of this weekend's Saudi Grand Prix and in the context of Max Verstappen's father Joss offering his views on the controversy surrounding Christian Horner.

Following the Bahrain Grand Prix, Verstappen Sr made his first comment on the ongoing saga, warning that the Red Bull team would “be torn apart” if Horner remained in charge following an internal investigation following allegations from his team-mate.

Plus: Behind the efforts to oust Red Bull F1 team boss Horner

Speaking about Verstappen Sr's comments, Hamilton admitted he had not heard them, but made clear he did not think they were appropriate.

“I don't know the details of that,” he said. “So, I don't know what he's building these foundations on.”

“But at the end of the day, he's not part of the team, he's a parent. That's just an opinion, but it's definitely not helpful.”

Hamilton's previous career was managed by his father, Anthony, who was a constant presence at races and in the garage.

However, this put pressure on their relationship, and the pair agreed to discontinue the arrangement as Hamilton later sought the support of professional managers.

When asked how difficult it is for a parent to be so closely involved in a driver's career, Hamilton explained that it's not easy to make it work.

Anthony Hamilton

Photography: Sutton Pictures

“I think it's a very fine line to walk. I think it also depends on your relationship with your parents,” he said.

“You meet some people who have a great relationship with their parents, and they were great parents, and then you find people who had bad relationships. And it's not necessarily because the parents were good to them.”

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“So I don't know about him [Verstappen’s] relations. Obviously you hear things here and there. But Max is a grown man, he's a hero, and I'm sure he can make his own decisions.

“But I think that in our world, as drivers, it's very easy to be misled by people who whisper in your ear, and maybe they don't always show you the right way.

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“I'm not saying that's the case over there, because they're doing a great job. But I know that in sports, I see other athletes that I've talked to, whether it's in tennis, and I've experienced that, when sometimes you don't have the right guidance around you, This leads to either making the right decisions, wrong decisions, or not being able to be the best at what you do.

“But obviously that's not the case there, he's doing well. So it's very difficult, because you want your father to be your father, and to have a good relationship. But when it comes to business, it makes it very difficult.”

Kevin Magnussen, who like Verstappen is the son of a former Formula One driver, questioned the parents' close involvement.

The Haas driver said he asked his father Jan not to play a role in his management during his Formula 1 career, which began in 2014.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas Formula 1 Team and Jan Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen, Haas Formula 1 Team and Jan Magnussen

Photography: Alexander Trentz / Motorsport pictures

“I think very early in my career I made it clear to my father that I didn't want his influence,” he said.

“I think he had to adapt to that, but I was very clear that I wanted this to be my journey, my project. He had his own career, so he should focus on that.

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“And he was very good at it. I tried to learn from my father as much as I could, and it was a real honor to have him really nurture and then learn from him and ask questions throughout my life.”

“But when it came to actually racing and taking care of my career, I didn't want his influence. I had my own team of people, I didn't ask my parents to, I just did my own thing. So I think that worked out well.”