Lewis Hamilton became prey to management agencies around the world yesterday when he announced that he is to split with father Anthony and look after himself in the 2010 Formula One World Championship which kicks off in Bahrain a week on Friday.
The former champion said he did not think it destabilising to make such a significant change so close to the start of the racing. Before he even came into F1 in 2007, Anthony Hamilton had indicated that he was unlikely to attend many of his son's grands prix, believing that his main job had been done in getting him that far, and Hamilton said: "A long time ago my father and I discussed this, that he would always be my dad but that at some point it would no longer be right for him to be my manager. We just never knew when that would happen."
Anthony has been at every one of his son's races, since Lewis started karting at the age of eight. Hamilton said: "He's always been there for me. Other managers do it for money or other things, but Dad did it for love and all the right reasons.
"There is no sense that we've outgrown each other. He is building his sports management business, he is very focused on GP Preparation, his new venture, and he was instrumental in helping Paul di Resta to get his test drive with Force India. And he is looking after young Nick de Fries, an extremely talented karter who could be the next to follow in my wheeltracks. Our goal was to get to F1, and he's done his job."
Hamilton stressed that the change has in no way affected his preparations for the season. "I'm still fully focused on my racing. I feel very positive about the situation and hopefully in the future I'll feel really comfortable."
He denied suggestions that sometimes Anthony Hamilton had exacerbated troubled situations, such as in Australia and Malaysia last year where he was accused of lying to race stewards while trying to implicate Italian driver Jarno Trulli in a rule infringement. "I don't agree. Anthony has always done things for me for the right reasons, to protect and to guide. No one could have done a better job and I'm thankful that he was there in the tricky situations, an unbelievable guy supporting me.
"It wasn't just emotion controlling him; he had a very logical thought process, too. And I still have that support from him as my dad now, rather than as my manager.
"My dad has really been the most incredible father and supporter. He was there in the toughest times and looked out for my career as well. He always had my back, and was there to guide me the right way. The amount of work and commitment he put in has taken all of him, and I believe there's no way I'd be here without him. Whatever happens I will always be his son and he'll always be my father. I'm extremely proud of him, and he has always made me feel that he's proud of me."