It's not love of the limelight. Or propelling raw talent onto the world stage. It's not a taste for performance, either, although these are all attributes that Lewis Hamilton shares with American Idol. (And no, Hamilton hasn't signed a sponsorship deal with Ford, though McLaren has run Dearborn's engines in the past.) What binds them together in contract – as well as spirit – is the deal which the former Formula One World Champion has signed with American Idol creator Simon Fuller and his talent agency, XIX Management.
The move comes a full year after Hamilton relieved his father Anthony of his duties as his manager. Like fellow champion Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton has managed his own affairs since, taking his time to find the right representative before settling on Fuller, whose XIX Entertainment also manages soccer superstar David Beckham and tennis talent Andy Murray.
The move has sparked speculation that Hamilton could switch teams next year if McLaren doesn't up its game. Lewis has been a McLaren driver through and through from the start, fostered by the team in his ascension up the racing ladder, making his grand prix debut in the chrome car in 2007 (and nearly winning the Championship in his first season) and clinching the title the following year. In the seasons since, Hamilton has landed fifth and fourth in the standings respectively, and has been struggling in pre-season tests so far. Follow the jump for the official announcement.
[Source: Lewis Hamilton]
Lewis joins forces with Simon Fuller as he signs for XIX Entertainment
Monday, 14 March 2011
The 2008 Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, today announced a new partnership with one of the most powerful figures in global business, Simon Fuller.
One of the most talented sportsmen of his generation, Lewis Hamilton joins an illustrious group of British sporting talent at Simon Fuller's new company, XIX Entertainment that includes David Beckham and Andy Murray.
"It was important I took my time to make this decision as it had to be right for my career and my long-term future," Hamilton said today. "I spoke to many interested companies in recent months but I felt Simon Fuller along with his team at XIX Entertainment not only wanted to help me become an even better racing driver, but they also shared my ambitions for the longer term. I look forward to working with them closely."
Simon Fuller added, "I've met Lewis and his father several times in the past and kept an eye on his career closely over the years. Like any British fan I watched with pride and admiration at his achievements, incredibly winning the World Championship at such a young age. He's not only one of the leading sportsmen of his generation, he will I believe become one of the best of all time. It's an honour to be partnering with Lewis in what will be a very exciting stage of his career."
Lewis Hamilton is considered by many observers to be the 'fastest man on four wheels' and is one of the most exciting drivers in the world today. He worked his way up the racing career ladder, winning the British Formula Renault, Formula 3 Euroseries and GP2 Championships. In his debut season in Formula One he set numerous records and milestones, finishing second and coming within a point of winning the title.
In his second season at the remarkably young age of 23 he captured the Formula One World Championship on the final lap in a thrilling race in Brazil.
Hamilton drives for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, one of the most successful teams in motor racing history, and is set to begin his fifth season in Formula One at the Australian Grand Prix meeting in Melbourne on 25th March.
Anthony Hamilton, Lewis Hamilton's father, welcomed the move: "This is great news for Lewis and for Simon. Lewis has wisely taken his time to find a good person to look after him. I met with Simon a couple of years back and he was then at the top of my list as my potential replacement. I'm happy to see that two years on Lewis has also come to his own opinion about Simon and made his own decision."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, said: "Not only is Lewis a brilliant Formula One driver, but he's also a thoroughly nice guy with an enormous and ever-growing global appeal. We're therefore delighted that he's chosen to partner with Simon Fuller and XIX Entertainment, and we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes look forward to working with Lewis, Simon and the XIX Entertainment team for many years to come.
"Lewis has been part of the McLaren 'family' since he was a kid, when he was introduced to us by his father Anthony, who did so much to inspire his son's racing career which led him from karting to Formula One. However, now, it's gratifying to see Lewis open a new chapter of his career, and we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will relish joining him on his journey, both on track and off track, working closely with Simon Fuller and the XIX Entertainment team."
Simon Fuller is one of the most influential men in the global entertainment business. The creator of award winning TV franchises that include the No.1 rating show on American TV for the last seven years, Simon Fuller is also the most successful British music manager of all time (as certified by Billboard) and has been recognized by Apple as being 'the most successful manager of the digital age' for sales of his music and TV shows through i-tunes.