Martin Whitmarsh has defended Lewis Hamilton’s absence from the FIA press day in preparation for the Chinese Grand Prix. It was suggested by GMM that this absence may actually be a breach of FIA regulations. You can read them here; specifically article 35. Question is, was Lewis summoned as one of the attendees? If so, it clearly states that he has to be there.
“It’s a question of the extent to which he will be available, and I think all we’re asking is please understand that Lewis is here to go motor racing,” he told reporters in Shanghai. Whitmarsh explained that the decision to shield Hamilton on Thursday is related to the questions he would have been asked about the forthcoming World Motor Sport Council hearing. “He can’t get drawn into those things. There is a balance, and we will try, with you guys, to find the right balance,” he told the press.
To be honest, I can understand the desire to stay away from this situation as they are currently embroiled in “Liegate” and rumors still persist that nerves are raw between Anthony Hamilton and McLaren. The other side of that is that the FIA makes it clear that he must attend if he was given 48 hours notice. That is unless he was given special dispensation to not appear by the FIA. At this point, why not just fine McLaren for having their driver at the press day? Seems par for the course.
My opinion? Again, Anthony Hamilton mismanaged an opportunity to make the most of the situation by having Lewis appear before the press to discuss the Chinese Grand Prix. He doesn’t have to comment on the goofy questions that would have come from the press corp in this media day. He could have used the situation to diffuse his detractors by saying that he is looking forward to racing. He is a race car driver and while McLaren is facing difficult situations and tempers may have flared or relationships may be strained; he is a professional racer and he will not short change McLaren or any team by being unmotivated to win this weekend. He’s here to wring the neck of the car and get every last bit from it for his fans and the Chinese public.
but Anthony has chosen to keep Lewis sequestered. Have I mentioned that Lewis could use a professional handler? Thought so.