LONDON, May 15 – Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has admitted the predominance of politics in Formula One has left him feeling disillusioned with the sport.Hamilton, 24, claimed his maiden world crown for McLaren in spectacular style last season, however the Englishman’s blossoming career has already been blighted by controversy.
McLaren were fined a record 100 million dollars by the sport’s world ruling body the FIA after they were found guilty of stealing secrets from Ferrari – an affair which came to be known as ‘spy-gate’.
In another, more recent, affair which came to be known as ‘liar-gate’, Hamilton was found guilty of misleading stewards after the Australian Grand Prix in March – which led to the Briton making a dramatic public apology.
Hamilton says what happened in Australia "was wrong", but a few months down the line he admits those battles with officialdom have left him disillusioned with the sport he joined as a promising rookie driver in 2007.
"It’s got to be a similar feeling to anyone who goes to jail but feels they shouldn’t be behind bars," Hamilton told The Times on Friday.
"That is the feeling I have had, although I know what happened in Australia was wrong.
"I just feel knocked about by it all. I want to be a driver – I am not in the sport to be a politician.
"It hasn’t affected my driving. I won’t allow anything to affect my driving. But it affects your life, it affects the way you are. I used to enjoy Formula One and part of that has been taken away from me."
Hamilton currently sits seventh in the drivers standings on only nine points, 32 shy of championship-leading compatriot Jenson Button.
In the meantime some of the sport’s biggest teams, including Ferrari and Renault, are battling the FIA’s plans to introduce controversial budget caps of 40 million pounds (60.7 million dollars) for each of the teams as of the 2010 season.
The FIA laid down the new restrictions as a response to the global financial downturn which has ensured that F1 must rein in its expenditure.
Hamilton added: "I never imagined there would be so much politics when I came into Formula One. It definitely was a shock. There has been too much time taken up with it.
"Unfortunately, it is the way the Formula One world works for some reason. It’s much nicer in the lower categories, where all the people are there just to race and the teams are there just to race."