Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff Friday said he had no problem with star driver Lewis Hamilton’s passion for extreme sports, despite the injury risk to such a lucrative asset.
Hamilton’s adrenaline-fuelled off-season hobbies, including skydiving, surfing, snowboarding and riding motorbikes, have raised eyebrows in the past.
But Wolff said the Briton was an adult and knew what helped him “decompress from racing”.
“Of course, I’m always worried and we had a laugh last year because I couldn’t get hold of him or my chief strategist or one of the race engineers because they were racing motorbikes,” he said.
“But Lewis is not an 18-or 19-year-old young man anymore, he is a five-time world champion and he knows exactly what works for him and what doesn’t.
“All these activities in my experience are not a negative distraction but something he enjoys doing and every time he decompresses from racing, he comes back stronger.” “We mustn’t be judgemental,” he added.
“Some people go on a mediation seminar in India, or skydiving, others are out for the ladies.” Hamilton, 34, said this week that his off-season was “a really precious time”.
“You get to spend (time) with family and friends and it’s the time you don’t get to think about racing,” he said.
“Then once the season starts you’re on tour the whole year and you never really lose sight of your targets.” Red Bull chief Christian Horner agreed with Wollf that drivers shouldn’t be restricted in what they did and there were no clauses in his team’s contracts to limit dangerous activities for drivers Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly.
“With Red Bull at the end of the day, no risk no fun,” he said.
“We don’t actively encourage our drivers to go and take a lot of risk, but they’ve got to live their lives and have some fun along the way.”
Mar 15, 2019 21:59 IST
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