Lewis Hamilton defends comments about hosting races in 'poor' India

Ruben Hill
November 16, 2018

The world champion told the BBC: "I've been to India before to a race which was unusual because India was such a poor place yet we had this massive, lovely grand prix track made in the middle of nowhere".

"We've got a lot of real racing history in England, Germany, Italy and now in the States it is starting to grow", Hamilton said. He had stated that he felt "conflicted" after attending the Indian Grand Prix and had labeled India a "poor place". Hamilton was of the opinion that the millions spent on the track, that is now not in use, could have been spent on schools and homes for those in need. In other countries where the Grand Prix is held, the racers face issues like low turnout and scant racing tradition. "F1 needs to go to new countries to popularize the sport".

"My reference was that a grand prix there felt odd to drive past homeless people and then arrive in a huge arena where money was not an issue", explained Hamilton on Instagram and Twitter.

As some sections of the media seem determined to act more and more as PR for the sport under its "new" ownership, it didn't come as too much of a surprise at the weekend to hear Sky Sports F1 paying tribute to the news that the sport is heading to Vietnam in 2020, even to the point of gushing over the proposed track layout, which, we were told, looks "exciting" and "demanding" and "offers great overtaking possibilities", "high speeds" and "some great racing".

"Hey everyone, I noticed some people are upset with my comment on India".

Chief strategist James Vowles has now echoed those comments as Mercedes prepare for next week's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"It is once again unbelievable to me how the words and the meaning of Lewis get spun out of context in this way", said Wolff in a statement. He did not criticise the nation and his words were those of a thoughtful and considered champion.

Perhaps it is this kind of hesitancy from F1 heavyweights like Hamilton that has discouraged Formula One to venture out to more countries around the globe and fail to renew the contract of prestigious venues like Sepang in Malaysia and indeed the Singapore Grand Prix, which took a long time to have its contract renegotiated.

All three were won by German driver Sebastian Vettel, then champion with Red Bull.

Recent additions to the F1 calendar include Turkey, India and South Korea, all of which have since fallen off the circuit after failing to attract the audiences needed to the keep the grand prix alive.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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