Tax avoidance is fine when you’re winning

Lewis Hamilton has been painted as a golden boy for British Motorsport, but it just simple isn’t true


Like most sports, car racing is full of controversy. Racism, sexism, tax avoidance. These issues are brought to the forefront in Formula 1. It’s the most popular set of races in motorsport, travelling the world every year with some of the most famous drivers known in the sporting world.

But amongst the numerous issues, it’s a sport that requires hard work and team work from each member. It’s thrilling to watch, and it has given light to some incredible drivers such as Jackie Stewart and Michael Schumacher. There have also always been underdog drivers. You knew they had it in them to win but every year they just missed out. One of these drivers was Jenson Button. In 2009, he finally got his win and it was unbelievably exciting.

Unfortunately, there are always a few that let the sport down. Lewis Hamilton is one of these. He’s British and he’s good-looking, therefore he instantly gets support. Not to mention that on-off “romance” with Pussycat doll, Nicole Scherzinger. Isn’t it funny how they’d always rekindle their love when he’s racing well and was likely to win…

He’s British and he’s good-looking, therefore he instantly gets support

He first came on the scene back in 2007 at the Australian Grand Prix. He was young, he was ambitious, he was gutsy and brave and that’s why people warmed to him almost instantly. Once he became team mates with Fernando Alonso, a rivalry between the two began. The young up-and-coming Brit vs the experienced double world champion who was expected to keep on winning. Of course, the British media quickly made their mind up on who to support. Alonso became public enemy number one to any British F1 fan, and meanwhile the same was happening over in Spain except the other way around.

Unfortunately, this rivalry brought out something much more serious than the odd grumpy face in a press conference. Racism. Fans of Alonso black-faced during the Spanish Grand Prix in 2009 in a crude act of taunting Hamilton. Of course, the media jumped at the chance to blame this on Alonso, and here we are again, hating a driver purely for being Hamilton’s biggest rival.

Lewis wasn’t the only Brit racing. Button was still there, and in fact he was in his best form. But the media didn’t care about that because he’d been racing for a while and hadn’t yet won anything. It’s not the first time the media had this reaction. The way in which the media has reported on Andy Murray during his tennis career is a perfect example. If he wins, he’s British. If he loses, he’s Scottish. In other words, we’ll claim him when he’s doing well but give him back to Scotland when he’s injured.

The truth of the matter is, Hamilton became Britain’s golden boy. But why? He’s often showed himself to be a spoiled brat when something doesn’t go his way. He became rivals with his team mate when he was still only an up-and-comer. He’s the most arrogant man in the sport, and on top of that, he’s now been caught tax-avoiding.

It’s caused many people to lose their love for F1 because they’re sick of it all being about him. He’s seen as some sort of hero, but what heroic act has he actually done? He’s proved himself to be an extremely sore loser. He’s showed himself to be a bad team player, shouting at his team mates numerous times. He has very little respect for the fans that have helped to get him where he is. Has he truly ever inspired anyone? Has he ever proved himself as the hero the media makes him out to be?

British sports stars such as Andy Murray, Jenson Button and Anthony Joshua are showing young people how to respect your sport and your opponents. They were and are front-runners in inspiring young people to not give up on their dream no matter how under-estimated they are. There’s no argument to suggest Hamilton has tried to join them in this.

Good looking privilege is at work here. British privilege is also at work here. The fact he’s winning makes it excusable that he’s avoiding paying tax. Who cares that he’s putting more pressure on the vulnerable to pay more money that they don’t have, into a country severely in debt? Who cares that a Millionaire is illegally keeping money he owes? Who cares, because he’s winning, right?

Wrong.

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