Bernie: Showbiz link ‘a disaster’ for Lewis

Date published: December 12 2011

Bernie Ecclestone feels Lewis Hamilton’s switch to a management company that has links to the showbiz industry has been “a disaster”…

Bernie Ecclestone feels Lewis Hamilton’s decision to switch to a management company that has major links to the showbiz industry has been “a disaster”.

The McLaren driver parted ways with his father Anthony, who handled his business affairs since childhood, in 2010 and signed up with Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment earlier this year.

XIX Entertainment has sports stars David Beckham and Andy Murray as well as pop stars Jennifer Lopez and Will Young as their clients.

Despite the change in management, it has been a difficult year on and off the track for Hamilton and Ecclestone feels the 2008 World Champion is being influenced by the “wrong” people.

“I think he had some personal problems during the year which affected him quite a lot,” the Formula One supremo told The Guardian.

“A lot to do with these things, it depends an awful lot on the people you surround yourself with, and who are in a position to influence you. I think he just fell into a lot of people that I think weren’t good for him. When his dad was looking after him, his dad was a bit more – obviously it didn’t suit Lewis, which was why they split, I think he didn’t appreciate how much help his dad was.”

He added: “I think it’s a disaster. He gets to meet people that probably he wouldn’t have met, and [who] have probably the wrong sort of influence on him. He’s at the age, perhaps, and he has the amount of money, where when he’s influenced, he can carry things through, which he wouldn’t normally have done.”