Much has been made recently of some drivers absence from the GPDA, most notably three of the top; Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa (who stood down recently) and Lewis Hamilton. Adrian Sutil is also yet to commit, but has escaped the wrath of Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli so far. However, because some felt that lower-paid drivers were funding the organisation which, in essence, helps out with the improvement of safety at races, many drivers were upset with higher paid drivers not contributing. Which is perhaps why Hamilton had stated earlier in the weekend that he has made a donation to the GPDA, reported to be way in excess of the normal £2,000 admission fee.
It was reported in The Daily Mirror that Lewis had parted with $30,000, approximately £15,000 and more than seven times the fee asked for by the GPDA to join. The Briton had stated that he hasn’t joined the organisation because, at the time in his rookie year in Formula One, wanted to concentrate on racing. A fair reason, many thought, but more experienced drivers like Jarno Trulli have been openly critical of those not joining recently, which may have prompted the goodwill gesture.
Skip forward 24 hours to the end of qualifying, in which Hamilton looked annoyed with himself, and the McLaren driver has now allegedly denied donating the money to the GPDA. And you know what, even if he hasn’t donated the money, he really didn’t want to openly say so! It’s called bad-PR, and whether or not you think any PR good PR, well, sometimes there’s not quite so good PR.
If the original reporting that Lewis has made a donation was a simple ruse to get the driver to donate, then maybe Lewis should have actually done that. I’m sure he can afford £15k, and it would have helped ease the criticism from other drivers and Formula One employees and reporters.
Oh, and to those that think any PR is good PR:
Lewis Hamilton really needs to hire a separate company to deal with his non-McLaren activities, like this embarrassing scenario which was concocted up by Vodafone. Even Hamilton himself has admitted to being slightly embarrassed by his on-stage stint.