Lewis Hamilton has explained his decision to join the bid to buy Chelsea Football club and how the discussions started.
Ahead of the Emilia Romagna GP, Sky News revealed about Sir Martin Broughton being among the bidders to buy Chelsea Football Club along with Steve Pagliuca and Todd Boehly. The news came about Hamilton and Serena Williams being part of Broughton’s team.
Talking about his decision, Hamilton explained how it came about and how Williams also joined the bidding under Sir Boughton. The Brit also discussed about the past owners and the financial situation as other drivers added their views on non-F1 investments.
Why the decision –
Hamilton: “Naturally, I heard about it in the news about… Everyone’s obviously aware of it. And yeah, we were contacted and so Martin took time to speak to me on the phone and explain his and his team’s goals if they were to win the bid, which was incredibly exciting, and it was very much aligned with my values and again, it’s … As a kid I remember I remember collecting all the stickers. I don’t know if you remember, when you go down to the store and get those books and you had to then trade cards.
“I remember filling all those up as a kid and trading them for pennies, trading them for sweets with other kids, for the most valuable cards. And when I was younger I was trying I was trying to be the best player I could be and actually play for a team. So I was trying to try out for Stevenage Borough when I was younger, but then I ended up following the racing space, but I could have only ever dreamed of being part of a team and a natural, integral part of a team, so that’s for me the most exciting thing.”
Where the idea came from for Chelsea –
Hamilton: “I mean, look, I’ve been a football fan since I was a kid. I played football from probably from the age of four until I was 17. I was in teams every year. I played in the school team every year through my childhood. I’ve been to numerous games. When I was young… Around the corner from where I lived, I used to play football with all the kids and a couple of my close friends at the time, I really wanted to fit in. I was the only kid of colour there. But I know that the kids all supported someone different.
“One was Tottenham and one was Man U, and I remember switching between these teams when I was younger and getting home and my sister punching me several times in the arm, my sister Sam, basically beating me saying ‘you have to support Arsenal’. So I remember at five or six years old that I then became a supporter of Arsenal. But my Uncle Terry is a big Blues fan. I’ve been to so many games with him to watch Arsenal and Chelsea play. And ultimately I’m a sporting fan. It is the biggest sport in the world. And Chelsea is the one of the biggest clubs in the world, and most successful. And when I heard about this opportunity, I was like, ‘wow, this is this is one of the greatest opportunities to be a part of something so great’.”
How did it come along with Serena Williams –
Hamilton: “We did speak about it. We spoke multiple times. Serena and I are very close. So we’re constantly in touch. You know, she’s a phenomenal athlete and woman. We spoke about it, she asked me what my thoughts were on it. And I told her that I’ll be I’m going to be a part of it. And she was excited to join.”
Chelsea’s background, financial situation –
Hamilton: “Well, I mean, firstly, we’re trying to acquire a team and move it forward. This is a team, this is all about the community. That’s what really makes a football team. It’s the people in and around it. They’ve done and been quite leading in the work in D&I and becoming more diverse and progressive. So, it’s not that we’re associating ourselves with previous owners. Our goal is to continue some of the work that they’ve already done and have even more of an impact and engage more with the community.
“I mean, naturally, that’s never the idea of an investment. But firstly, the investment to be a part of something as big as this is the excitement. That’s first and foremost what comes to mind. And then yes, of course, it is a business venture. But through the discussions we’ve had, how the team plan to manage this team moving forward and improve that, and slowly decrease those losses and turn it into a profit-making organisation, that’s going to take a lot of work. There are so many moving parts, I don’t have the strategy to all that.
“We haven’t yet won the bid. I’m sure that will come afterwards. But the people, the team, the consortium, it’s a consortium of lifetime Chelsea fans and others that have come to it later like myself. There’s not anyone that’s a part of it, that is a part of that consortium that’s with the mindset of losing. I already think Chelsea already has a winning mindset. But I think we can do better with how we move it forward. At the moment my primary focus is continuing in Formula 1, and this isn’t my first business venture or investment. But yeah, it’s something I’m excited about, I would say early on I’m for sure not going to be able to be hands on as the other people that are a part of it.
“But again, we haven’t won it yet. But if we do, there’s lots of opportunity to get involved more and more over time, which is super exciting. And particularly beyond racing, of wanting to help with the success they’ve already had, and help it be even more successful. The part where we’re very aligned is DNI, for example, and what they’ve already done there, you’ve seen that, in that sport, there is still a lot of work to be done to be more diverse and more inclusive. It’s an amazing platform to bring in and educate a lot of the amazing fans that are out there. And there’s some amazing talent within the team already that have really stood up against discrimination, and worked very closely with the organisation to move forward. And I know that’s really important for I think the fans of Chelsea. The community is heavily invested in that also. So I think it’s important.”
Here’s what other drivers said regarding other investments –
Stroll: “Right now, I’m kind of working with my dad in Formula 1. We’re in this project with Aston Martin, and it’s extremely exciting and there’s definitely a huge amount of opportunity in sport. For example, Formula 1 right now, I think it’s a very exciting time for Formula 1, you know. The rules have changed, I think the sport is growing. I think the valuations of the teams are increasing tremendously, as you know. Some changes have been made. The budget cap money, better money distribution through the teams. So, you know, I think there’s definitely a lot of opportunity in sport.
“We’ve seen how the NFL over the last 20 years has changed, and the valuations of the team’s went from to 200-300 million to 3.5, 4 billion, you know, in the span of 20 years, which is incredible. And I hope to see our sport in that trajectory, I think it would be great for all the teams. But there’s definitely a huge amount of opportunity in sports. You’re seeing some sports, like the NFL, the NBA, they’ve kind of maybe tailed off now at their maximum valuation and potential, but there’s certainly a lot of other sports and teams that I think have a lot of potential and therefore are great investments and, you know, great opportunities.”
Schumacher: “Well, I guess if it’s something that, that you support, I guess as Lewis does, then surely it’s something that you should follow up. Right now I’m obviously starting off my career in Formula 1, so that’s where my thoughts are at. And I don’t really think about investments right now.”
Ocon: “I think I need to achieve a bit more in Formula 1 before thinking about investing in something as big as that but yeah, I was just saying to Lewis that if that works out for him, congrats, because it shows how much success he’s had in Formula 1, and achieving something, getting into football and hopefully being part of owning Chelsea is something massive. So yeah, congrats to him. And I hope I can be as successful in my sport as he’s actually now and I can invest in something I like in the future.”
Ricciardo: “I’m a sports fan for sure. So is it of interest? Yes. But you know at what stage? Yeah, I don’t know. But I love sport. And I think to any venture or adventure, if it’s the same thing, it helps if you’re really passionate about it. And yeah, so the thought of it and things like that is really exciting. For now, obviously, I’m not involved in anything, but for sure, maybe one day it’s of interest.”
Alonso: “I think, first of all there are very different topics and passions. You know, cycling for me has been my passion for all my life. And I’ve been cycling all my life. And I’ve been involved on professional cycling, friends and a lot of projects around that so when I thought about the professional cycling team, I have a lot of knowledge about, you know, what I was going into. I’m not saying Lewis doesn’t have (that) but I think football is a little bit bigger than that and, I don’t think that there are too many similarities there. On the second part of the question, no, I’m not planning now to move forward that project. I started many other things, meanwhile, and they are more interesting at the moment.”
Perez: “I haven’t. I think at the moment I will focus… full focus on the job.”
Latifi: “No, I have my sports team so all good.”
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