Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2019

Why Hamilton’s lack of a knighthood should come as no surprise

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Since Friday, when Britian’s 2019 New Year Honours list was published, there has been a recurring question on Formula 1 social media feeds: ‘What must Lewis Hamilton do to get a knighthood?’.

There are no doubts Hamilton ranks amongst the very best drivers Formula 1 has ever feted – and is its best-ever by some metrics – just as there are zero doubts that his successes resonate across the globe. He has single-handedly brought diversity into a spot which badly lacked it, and contributed to awareness of veganism and ‘green’ lifestyle choices despite dominating an activity not readily associated with eco-awareness.

Yet folk point to cricketers who receive honours after winning a single World Cup, name politicians they feel screwed up the country, fume at the recognition of highly controversial jurists and administrators. Then they scream ‘injustice’ as Hamilton, who was made a ‘Member Of The Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire’ (MBE) following his 2008 title, is left to await further recognition.

Some suggest racism or Hamilton’s tax record have played a role. But of the thousand-plus names mentioned in 2019’s list, 9.1% are from minority groups, which is broadly in line with Britain’s demographic. As for Hamilton’s tax arrangements, which last hit the headlines two years ago when he was accused of dodging a £3.2 million bill on a private jet, Lord Peter Hain has claimed the Mercedes driver ranks amongst the country’s top 5,000 tax payers, with his income generated mainly by British business.

Anthony Hamilton, Lewis Hamilton, Interlagos, 2008
Hamilton became an MBE after his first title win 11 years ago
The boy from thoroughly humble Stevenage roots, who overcame staggering odds to rise to the very top of arguably the world’s most brutal mainstream sporting genre, has done so in British-built kit throughout his 13 years in F1. Surely he has done enough to be ordered to kneel and feel the tap of a gleaming royal sword on his shoulder?

Such sentiments, though, overlook a simple reality. Namely that of all British F1 world champions – 10 to date (excluding those associated via former colonies) – only Sir Jackie Stewart has been knighted.

Stewart worked tirelessly on safety and contributed to various charities after retiring. Despite a record-breaking career in British-owned teams, his gong came 26 years after his third and final world title.

Only two further F1 drivers have been knighted. Sir Jack Brabham, also a triple champion – twice with British cars, then in 1966 in a car of his making – was honoured 13 years after winning his final title, under a short-lived arrangements under which Australians could qualify for such accolades.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

The other was Sir Stirling Moss, following an illustrious career – albeit one without an F1 title – including victories in Le Mans, Mille Miglia, rallies, speed records and other high-profile activities at a time when grand prix racing was not the only form of motor sport widely recognised by the public.

Jackie Stewart, Silverstone, 2019
Sir Jackie Stewart: Britain’s only knighted world champion
Now consider notable omissions: John Surtees CBE, four-time motorcycle world champion, 1964 F1 champion, F1 team owner and ambassador for the Racing Steps Foundation despite losing a son to the sport; Mike Hawthorn, Britain’s first F1 world champion; double champions Graham Hill and Jim Clark. The latter missed out in spite of setting records for career victories and greatest number of wins in a season.

The fact of the matter is that there were no major awards to drivers until the late nineties/early noughties: Stewart and Moss knighted, as was successful team owner Sir Frank Williams. The latter’s McLaren peer Ron Dennis was made a ‘Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ (CBE).

Since then the only F1-related honours recipients of note besides Hamilton were Jenson Button and his former team boss Ross Brawn (both 2010), and Claire Williams (2016), whose team was F1’s most successful independent operation at the time, plus services to Women in Motorsport. In 2012 Nigel Mansell’s honour was upgraded from OBE to CBE, but as president of UK Youth. There have been no F1 knighthoods for 20 years.

[icon2019autocoursempu]Could it also be that after 2000 Buckingham Palace and folk in the honours loop took a dislike to F1, and thus no longer views its protagonists worthy of being knighted?

Certainly, F1 hardly covered itself in glory this millennium: The infamous ‘Baccy Bung’, when then-F1 tsar Bernie Ecclestone was accused of donating a million quid to the ruling Labour party in return for tobacco concessions; the McLaren versus Ferrari ‘Spygate’ affair; Renault’s ‘Crashgate’; a widely publicised sex scandal; Ecclestone’s Munich trial, which saw $100m paid to settle $35m bribery allegations, and so on…

Back, though, to the opening question: History relates that, at the very least, Hamilton needs to retire from F1, then dedicate the next 20 years of his life to some high-profile activity while perhaps hoping that F1 un-tarnishes itself in the interim.

Don't miss anything new from RaceFans

Follow RaceFans on social media:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

145 comments on “Why Hamilton’s lack of a knighthood should come as no surprise”

  1. Why would Hamilton even want a knighthood, and be bracketed in the same group as Philip Green, Jimmy Savile and, god forbid, Nick Clegg?

    1. Why, what did Clegg do?

      1. Clegg? Was deputy leader of the Conservative Liberal coalition government, voted through tuition fees even when the Liberal policy was against them, failed to prevent a referendum on the EU, in the following 2015 election lost 49 Liberal MP’s to leave with only 8, and finally lost his seat in the 2017 election.
        Obvious candidate for knighthood really. 🤣

        1. I don’t see why not. In this day and age, with all the interest in ‘fairness’ and ‘leveling the playing field’, all British citizens should be able to apply for and receive knighthood. Who wouldn’t want to be able to respond to ‘Sir, wow really?’… with ‘yeah, just like Jimmy Savile!’

          1. @mrvco “all British citizens should be able to apply for… …knighthood” is close to being a thing already. Although you can’t select what honour you want, and cannot nominate yourself, anyone (including foreigners) can ask anyone else (also including foreigners) to nominate them for a royal honour at the Gov.uk website. A committee then starts an investigation (including a check that HMRC is not currently in dispute with the potential recipient) and, if that checks out, decides whether, when and at what level an award (or upgrade on an award) should be granted.

            I suspect that Lewis is well-enough known that he would be discussed by these committees whether anyone nominated him or not. The primary use of the public nomination facility is for finding people who have made a major difference locally and might deserve an honour despite the mainstream national/international media not knowing who they were. Such people can often be found in the MBE list, especially if not many national-level achievers in the same category of service received that class of award. (There’s a limit on how many of each award can be given each “List”. One reason Lewis may have got an MBE instead of the more commonly-awarded OBE was because it was a highly successful Olympic year for the British, meaning a lot of Olympic sportspeople were getting knighthoods and OBEs (it’s relatively uncommon for a sportsperson to get the CBE that is in between those two awards, for some reason) that wouldn’t have been there if Lewis had won a year earlier or later.

          2. For the last year we have been in a Pandemic……….A lot of people and businesses have suffered greatly………L.H. gets £50m a year for 20 days of racing a sports car………something a million boys would give their right testacle to do…………….There are a lot of deserving people who have saved lifes….battled through adversity and had great loss, while helping to support others………..

  2. Has Hamilton ever been asked about knighthood by a journo, and if so, what was his response?

    I’d like to hear from the man at the centre of the storm (even one in a teacup) before really forming an opinion.

    1. I know of a few times, once particularly in Mexico 2016, when he stated he wasn’t expecting a knighthood. In fact, to me he seemed rather coy about the topic.

      But the point of my article is not that he is expecting a knighthood, but that despite a number of precedents his fans are outraged that he wasn’t awarded one

      1. Thank you Dieter, for both the linked article and your impressions. And yes, this article of yours should help assuage Hamilton’s fans’ concerns that his time might yet come.

        Happy new year to you, Dieter, and your family.

        1. Well informed article, but then I expect no less from you, Mr Rencken!
          Very valid points why Hamilton hasn’t done enough to ‘earn’ a knighthood!
          Those in the sport that have a knighthood are legends by deed and reputation!
          Hamiltons accomplishments are limited to championship wins and race wins in machinery that was by far the most superior and back by excellent team support. He is at the ‘beginning’ of his Formula 1 career but to be a Knight of the realm is not down to winning championships and races alone, but based on being an ambassador to the sport for the UK and Stirling Moss is a good example mentioned – Hamilton is sadly not in that class yet, he has a long way to go to achieve that accolade – the legend status the others before him managed to achieve!

          1. So it’s ok for “Sir” Andy Murray to win a couple of Wimbledons and cry a little bit, but not so for a SIX times F1 World Champion?
            Me thinks RACISM plays a big part here!

          2. @Glyn Hall

            Hamiltons accomplishments are limited to championship wins and race wins in machinery that was by far the most superior and back by excellent team support

            Not all of them. Certainly in 2008, 2017 & 2018 his machinery was in no way “far superior”. In all these 3yrs, Ferrari had cars that were close on performance, sometimes better than his cars.

          3. @amam

            Not all of them. Certainly in 2008, 2017 & 2018 his machinery was in no way “far superior”. In all these 3yrs, Ferrari had cars that were close on performance, sometimes better than his cars.

            None of which will be of any interest to the people who draw up the lists.

      2. You spot on there Deiter. When the likes of Strauss and Cook get knighted, cricketers who were not the best even in their own team, makes you wonder. Lewis Hamilton is the best ever, a role model and a global sporting icon Britain should be lucky to have. When they do offer it, he should tell them to shove it.

        1. geoffgroom44 (@)
          5th January 2020, 10:44

          I agree, he should treat such an eventual allocation with contempt.However, Lewis has more class than that,huh? In the end it doesn’t really phase him that much I’m sure, he always follows the mantra of ‘doing the talking on the track’. As for Stirling’s achievements, well yeah, I’m of that generation..but really, there is nothing compares with the global reach and ‘brand name ‘ of Lewis Hamilton.

        2. Maybe they’re waiting for him to get an 20th championship, serve in the military, volunteer for the NHS, give away all his money, stop looking better than 3 time winner Jackie Stewart, to stop being so outspoken about racism, being such a great sportsman and being such a shining light to all wannabe racers.

  3. The whole perception of F1 in the popular mind is of unfair competition:- drivers winning because they are in faster cars than the others and with more powerful engines.
    An equal chance for every competitor is an absolute starting point, and nobody outside F1 sees any chance of that. So no gongs any time soon.

    1. The competition isn’t just for drivers, it is highly technical. Drivers are financed by the teams whose main goal is the Constructors Championship, not the WDC. Constructors are very good at seeing which driver is outperforming their car & hiring them accordingly. LH was spotted years before his F1 debut, blazing a trail from karting & through all the junior single seater series. Some drivers are also very good at constructive feedback & helping to develop the car around them, something LH now has a good reputation for and was a big part of Michael Schumacher’s skillset, in a sport where even shifting a control on the steering wheel can earn you hundredths of a second. Winning races in every year that he has competed in motorsport, not always in superior cars, proves that the cream rises to the top. Maybe his time will come when he retires, especially if he then actively works to support disadvantaged kids into motorsport, as people tend to get recognised for charitable achievements more than sporting ones.

      1. Don’t tell me, write to the Honours Awards Commission, London w1.
        Remember C/C to L Hamilton, UnTaxed Hideaway Mansions, Casino Sq, Monaco.

        1. Sir Richard Branson??? Sir Philip Green??? Shall I continue?

    2. To be fair, Hamilton hasn’t always had the fastest car. In 2018 especially, there’s a strong case to be made that Ferrari had the faster/better car. For instance, sources such as AMuS conclude the SF71H was quickest overall in 2018 (albeit by a very small margin).

      But i do think that Hamilton’s achievements will be better appreciated, he’ll get that knighthood, once he retires.

    3. By that logic Gasly would be killing it in Red Bull and Vettel would be no 3 in the table this season. But they didnt because as important as the car is, you still need to drive it to victory, consistently in conditions that tend to be harsher than weaker cars.

      Same goes for most sports too like football, teams with higher relative wages correlates to higher finishing places (a statistic that went as far back as the 60s in the English league) before the advent of “big money”.

      All great players all want to go to the best teams and be with other great players. Yet some of the individuals of these “team” players will get the accolades despite a lot of other less great but still important cogs each doing their part (in F1’s case that includes strategists, pit crew and engineers). I rarely see Real Madrid or Barcelona take away their “greatest team of the world” accolades in certain years just because they had the lions share of TV money and revenue in their own national league.

      Lewis Hamilton’s victories and titles were never fully his own, but the same can be said of any other team sports who had great individual performers in their teams who were celebrated.

      1. …. no one scores more goals in football because their boots are a better design than the other players. There is no comparison there. I am just looking at F1 the way outsiders look at us F1 fans. :)

        1. I think you’re missing the point, it’s not the boots or the car that’s driving the success, it’s the team and the money and the infrastructure. Mercedes/Barcelona aren’t the best because of the tools of their trade it’s the ethos, the structure and the right people in place. Those things come with time, past successes (and failures), money, political intelligence and a degree of luck. You can’t say the boots are any less important to a footballer than a car is to a formula one driver and the gains in formula one can be compared to differences in league classification from Mercedes/Ferrari in the Premier league to McLaren in league one.

        2. In football you have to take it past the football field, back to infrastructure and whole socio-econmics of whatever nation of training is in, and just like formula 1, the richer countries with the right players and coaches tend to do a lot better than poor countries with the same talents.

  4. Since Buckingham Palace cancelled their Sky subscription in cost cutting measures, they can’t tune into F1, like most of the 10 million in the UK that used to watch it regularly on free to air. UK Sky F1 viewing is down to 400k & diminishing, making it quite a minority sport, for one that relies on brands, advertising & sponsorship. F1 management still shooting themselves in the foot.

    1. So you being able to watch f1 for free is a decisive factor on whether Lewis gets a kinighthood?

      1. No, people being able to watch F1 for free is a factor on whether they nominate him through public channels. People don’t nominate people if they’re not aware of their recent achievements, or don’t feel strongly about them (since the form to do the nomination is deep in a government website and the 18-month potential wait for a response is the antithesis of instant gratification).

        The related phenomenon of F1 getting progressively less media attention in general means F1 candidates are less likely to be nominated through other channels (there’s an independent recommendation committee, that brings its own ideas, and adds in some of the public nominations in order to generate the complete listing).

    2. @inkpen99 I echo with @antony obrien in that what do all sorts of irrelevant secondary stuff have to do with Lewis potentially getting honored, LOL? Zero impact.

      1. Loss of FTA has drastically reduced the significance of F1 in the UK, so someone who the declining number of avid followers of F1 regard as a hero is reduced to someone mentioned in small columns in the sports section in the back of a few newspapers and much less of a “public hero” worthy of state honours. In 2008, F1 was stil FTA with a big audience in the UK. They killed that.

  5. Just like how Beckham hasnt recieved a knighthood so wont Hamilton. This is due to his aggressive tax avoidance schemes, who can forget the chance to lease his own plane back to him to cut his tax committment.

    He will never recieve a knighthood, and rightly so! The tax payers looked after his family while he was training to be a world class driver, he now isnt repaying that back to the vulnerable in hertfordshire…

    1. He pays a lot of taxes still. And he isn’t doing anything illegal. Blame UK Parliament for having stupid tax rules then.

      Everyone avoids taxes as much as they legally can with whatever legal exceptions there is. But of course people only look at certain people and never at themselves because they feel they “don’t deserve to have to pay taxes”.

    2. Did you miss the bit in the article where it’s stated that he’s amongst the top 5000 taxpayers in the country?

      And how exactly did the tax payer look after his family? His father took on at least TWO jobs to put him through carting and there after Mclaren supported him.

      1. He’s referring to Hamiltons mother being on benefits while Hamilton and his father were off karting. Much is made of Hamiltons “humble” background but in reality he was far better off throughout his teenage years than many British and other nationality drivers at the time and before him. Perry McCarthy lost his house trying to stay in F1, Mansell had to sell everything to get a drive, Coulthard had to give every penny of the money his Gran left him to get an junior drive, the likes of Webber, Hill, Herbert etc etc all had similar issues. I sometimes wish that Hamilton fans would read about some other drivers and then realise that someone who was supported all the way through his teens with no worries about trying to drum up sponsors to get a back of the grid seat is not someone who has had it hard. Also his father was an IT manager who took redundancy to become an IT contractor. Anyone who has worked at either of those jobs knows they are extremely well paid compared to most jobs in the UK.

        1. @Andy The Hamilton family story is nothing but pure inspiration. Your embittered view of it all can take nothing away from that. However, I’m sure you take great pleasure in following Lewis’ achievements, as he continues to add to the tally of being one of the most successful British sportspeople of all time, across all sports.

          You have given me an idea though. I too am a senior IT contractor. I quite fancy a dig at a motorsports world championship myself. Maybe that’s my 2020! Jack that in for a £200m redundancy cheque!? I’ll see what my boss has to say…

    3. If youre getting over taxed, no one’s honouring your sacrifice…if you havent tried to find ways to reduce your tax obligations you’re a fool.

    4. Tom, the problem is that position comes across as a bit hypocritical when used to criticise only one driver, whilst staying silent on other drivers as well.

      As Jackie Stewart moved to Switzerland in the 1960s to avoid taxes, do you believe that he shouldn’t have been given his awards? Presumably figures like Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell or Jenson Button shouldn’t have received awards for being tax exiles as well? After all, hasn’t Damon been questioned about the fact he routs his business dealings through an Irish company to reduce his tax bills?

      Does that attitude extend to other nations as well – for example, should the French not have given Prost his Légion d’Honneur despite having moved to Switzerland two years before he received it (as an aside, Prost’s status as a tax exile didn’t stop him receiving an OBE either)?

      As others have pointed out, some other drivers on the grid have some awkward questions hanging over them as well – for example, the private education that Alexander Albon got to enjoy when younger came from his mother participating in around £9 million in fraudulent business deals, before she was eventually convicted and jailed for six years in 2012.

      If you want to criticise drivers on that front, then it’s up to you – but I do feel that, if you want to complain on that front, then it’s a bit hypocritical to single out just one driver.

      1. Very well said, lets all hit on Hamilton while avoiding the fact that just about every other driver has done the same, and personally I think 6 WDC’s is worth more than some Knighthood, especially when you consider some of the rather dubious names on that list.

    5. Here’s a question – has he dodged taxes other than on the plane? As the article says, he still pays a bunch of taxes. Of course, tax dodging at any point is bad, but I bet there are others who have been knighted who’ve dodged taxes. Not to mention the people who’ve done even worse.

      1. The Skeptic (@)
        31st December 2019, 1:59

        Tax avoidance is completely legal. It’s essentially about minimising the tax on your earnings by following the law of the land.

        Tax evasion is illegal.

        AFAIK – Hamilton has avoided/minimised tax, but he has not broken the law.

        1. Lewis didn’t evade tax on the jet, his *accountants* avoided some of the tax, legally. I doubt Lewis (or his father) have handled his finances for years now. When you earn that much money, it’s just pure common sense to have professionals manage it on your behalf.

      2. “tax dodging at any point is bad”
        Au contraire! it puts less money in politicians hands to buy votes.

    6. geoffgroom44 (@)
      5th January 2020, 10:50

      OMG, I always thought the establishment awarded knighthoods to those who had found a clever way of avoiding tax,after all it paved the way for others in the establishment to do the same.Perhaps Sir Humphrey will have observed that this was quite OK, except it attracted too much publicity, so gone is the gong!

    7. Foreigners have received knighthoods despite never paying a penny to the Exchequer. Provided HMRC thinks the individual paid the amount HMRC believes they should, location and tax proportion of income for the candidate are irrelevant. Otherwise Lewis wouldn’t have the MBE (which was granted post-Switzerland move).

      (Technically, you can dodge taxes, get caught, serve prison time, pay the money back and from that point onwards regain eligibility for an honour. Though HMRC may flag up the presence of any recent irregularities (not the details due to GPDR), and the committee may take that status into account when deciding whether to grant an award. Plus if you were famous before that happened, fear of a complaining public may also be taken into account!)

  6. Not being British I do not see the logic here (as goes for Brexit). Seems childish overall and hurts the reputation of the not so united Kingdom. And I assume, based on Lewis’ somewhat perpetual identity crisis profile, that he does mind.

    1. Identity crisis? I look at Lewis and his success right now and attribute it, in no small part, to how comfortable he seems in his own skin.

      1. Totally agree. Nonconformists always have to endure being judged for not being vanilla like the masses, though.

  7. I will offend UK and all sentimental people there, but…
    – Monarchy and all things related are the relic of the past. Time to end all of this.

    If not – then force “knights” to wear full-plate armor in all public appearances, ride horses and participate in compulsory sword fights. Why? Because why not?!?

    If you feel offended and will vent your displeasure replying to this post, don’t bother expecting a reply from me, my position is set in stone and I have not a slightest desire to discuss this.

    1. Lewis should be forced to wear full armour on race day, since he is keen to be knighted.

      1. When has Lewis said he was keen to be knighted?

    2. Who has ever got offended by an insignificant nobody like dallyien and the nonsense it spouts?

    3. Joking aside, Hamilton is wearing armor on race day, in the form of a flame resistant suit and crash helmet. No doubt it is very uncomfortable in some races.

      Which highlights he does something which requires actual daring, as opposed to many others. Of course those in the military would have even greater claim using this logic.

    4. Nobody cares

    5. If you feel offended and will vent your displeasure replying to this post, don’t bother expecting a reply from me, my position is set in stone and I have not a slightest desire to discuss this.

      Where I come from a somewhat decent number of internet users complain, imho rightly, about users posting weird kak on the internet and then saying “auto mute, no debat” as soon as someone complains.

      It seems Indonesia’s far from alone here. We’re not all that backwards I guess :p

      If not – then force “knights” to wear full-plate armor in all public appearances, ride horses and participate in compulsory sword fights. Why? Because why not?!

      ?I don’t really see the point you’re trying to make here

    6. @dallein England has had some knights that never wore armour or used a sword for non-decorative purposes since at least the 13th century (in other words, before the first currently extant English knightly order was established); by then, it had already become a status symbol for some, who paid 40 d per week scutage to the Crown rather than take their sword off the wall to be part of the military. Suddenly reversing this 8 centuries later would be rather difficult, especially given the British military has been reducing in size for at least the past 7 years. (And trying to charge 40 p a week to not wear the armour would cause considerable mirth). This is even more pronounced in Scotland, due to its extant knightly order being established centuries, rather than decades, after this became a thing.

      Knights rode horses frequently until carriages became popular… …because so did pretty much anyone else who wasn’t royalty and needed to travel on land.

  8. Is it so important?

    1. To people who expect consistency from the British honours system (which in this case would mean promoting Lewis to an OBE), yes. (It’s not so much of an issue for other nations regarding their motorsports competitors; they have generally awarded few enough honours that no comparable “standard practise” has been established for achievement in the motorsport sector. Though some other nations may have similar debates over other categories…)

      To people who want Lewis to be happy, or to get maximal recognition… …probably not so much.

  9. 1. Where does LH pay taxes, in UK or?
    2. Does LH voted leave or remain?

    1. He pays taxes all over the world, depends where he is. I would imagine America gets a fair slice as he spends most of his year in Colorado, New York and Los Angeles.
      Why, you don’t think he should pay taxes in the country he is born in do you?

      1. “Why, you don’t think he should pay taxes in the country he is born in do you?”

        America does ;-)

      2. He pays taxes in the 21 countries F1 goes to. Because he stays in Colorado does not mean he pays taxes as he’s not a resident there.

    2. @formevic Why is 2) relevant to… Anything?

      1. @losd Giving a knighthood prize it’s common they consider too how much a subject contribute to its own society (taxes) and if he row in same direction as current govt don’t you.

        1. @formevic It would be illegal to take Lewis’ referendum vote into consideration (if he even cast one) because the actual voting pattern of any given individual in any British election is required to be a secret ballot by law. It is also a criminal offence to discriminate against someone on the basis of their vote, should this information somehow enter the hands of a decision-maker.

  10. The boy from thoroughly humble Stevenage roots, who overcame staggering odds to rise to the very top of arguably the world’s most brutal mainstream sporting genre, has done so in British-built kit throughout his 13 years in F1.

    So are we just going to ignore that after his karting career concluded, he had a McLaren F1 contract and driver development deal in the bag, therefore basically making his low-income household a non-factor?

    1. It’s still a factor because that’s what got him started. He had a young driver program contract, not one that guarantees he’d get a race seat. In case it’s not already known, before his GP2 winning season, he was nearly kicked off the program and his father tried to get him a seat at Williams.

      1. Yes, Williams wanted him, BMW didn’t. Before that was resolved Ron changed his mind.

  11. Don’t think Lewis really cares with his woke stance on things.
    The rest of us don’t care as it is soon to be the year 2020 and the fact that queens and kings and princes and princesses and dukes and duchesses and lords and ladies and knights exist is probably the most troubling thing in the world ahead of climate change and immigration and the rest of the world’s “issues”.
    Monarchies over democracy in 2020???

    1. Republic over democracy in 2020? And look where its got them. Dear oh dear.

    2. @jimfromus Clearly, there is more democracy in most monarchies than there is in the USA.

      1. @f1osaurus Well that’s a lie or at best extreme ignorance. How’s the speech codes going?

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          31st December 2019, 9:19

          @jblank Well, it’s your igorance I guess yes.

          Norway is the country highest on the democracy index. Which is a Monarchy. The US is at a lowly P25. Below almost all the European Monarchies (Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Spain). Also below other monarchies like New Zealand, Australia and Japan.

          USA is even listed as a flawed democracy instead of full democracy.

          So yeah. Have fun with your speech codes whatever that might mean.

          1. We’re not a democracy PERIOD, which is a good thing, we’re a Republic. Two things, if you believe some arbitrary, made up “democracy index” carries weight, you’re a fool. Secondly, if you think Spain, a nation where they will jail you for speaking ill of the “royalty” is more free than the US, then I have some oceanfront property in the Sahara to sell you.

          2. @jblank The Democracy Index does not differentiate between democracies and republics, provided they are actually of a democratic nature (as opposed to a system pretending to be a democracy or republic to hide how authoritarian it actually is). This is because in modern practise, all countries that have a recognisable democratic system (full. flawed or otherwise) are republics. Even the UK is a republic in practise; the head of state (the Queen) only signs off legislation, and even then it’s not clear in legal terms what would happen if the Crown refused to sign a law agreed by the Houses of Parliament – there’s nothing that requires the Houses to accept the matter. Most nations are simply too big for dictionary-definition democracy (involving directly asking all interested citizens, howsoever defined) to work.

    3. Quite everybody don’t care about knighthood and nowadays an empire medal is piece of furniture outdated. Royal Army rules in a few exotic islands only.

  12. Well written article
    I think he does have a shot at it later in life

  13. I don’t understand what’s so important about it. Does Lewis really care? will his life change after being knighted?

    I can just picture in my head a very british gentlemen dropping a monocle after hearing the news. What A Problem…

  14. John and Yoko did the right thing, as have many others who refused to acknowledge this nonsense.
    Sir bloody Lewis? Just doesn’t ring right; and I love the guy.

  15. I expect he’ll get one the year after he retires, as it would be a knighthood for a whole career’s worth of achievements. The only sportspeople I can think of who got them while still competiting at the top level in their sport were given them largely as a response to a specific event – Wiggins, Murray, Holmes, etc.

    People like Alastair Cook and Steve Redgrave only got them after retirement from the top level. It’ll be the same for Hamilton.

    1. @neilosjames Patrick Head got his knighthood a few years back while he was still working for Williams though. On the other hand, indeed all motorracing knighthoods over the last decades were handed out to people close to (or over) retirement age.

      1. Patrick Head resigned from the F1 team in 2012 (age 66) and retired from Williams Hybrid Power in 2014 – he received his knighthood for ‘Services to Motorsport’ (note) in 2015, so three years after ceasing his motorsport involvement and a year after leaving industry entirely.

        1. Schumacher Fan
          30th December 2019, 20:07

          Personally I don’t care if he gets a knighthood or not but one thing that really annoys me is the fact that when he does win he can’t have the basic manners to stand still for The National Anthem he’s jigging about etc. Same when he’s on the podium full stop. He’s a grown ass man and as such should be able to stand for the winner’s Anthems!!! K

          1. OCD much? Not like he’s flossing on the podium. He’s full of adrenaline after winning an intense race! Let him enjoy his achievement ffs

  16. Some suggest racism or Hamilton’s tax record have played a role. But of the thousand-plus names mentioned in 2019’s list, 9.1% are from minority groups, which is broadly in line with Britain’s demographic.

    If the author of this article thinks this is a valid rebuttal against any allegations of racism in this issue (if any indeed exists), then he has no idea how racism works.

    1. @kbdavies As an ethnic (if not racial at least in the e.g. “caucasoid-subsaharan-etc” sense) minority where I come from I seem to be with @dieterrencken‘s boat here. What do you mean, exactly?

      1. It means that the existence of quotas or even positive representative statistics does not exclude the incidence of racism. For anyone who truly understands the phenomenon of racism or has experienced it, you will know it is a multi layered and multi faceted problem. It is not as simple as “discrimination toward people of colour”. It is much more complicated than that.

        Basically, it is possible for one black person to experience more racism than another, due to a variety of factors like attitude, dressing, hairstyle, how they speak, how they look, and a myriad of other intangible stuff, all they way down to the particular way in which they express their “blackness”

      2. Why, even one of a thousand-plus knighthoods awarded to a Caucasian male would be blatant racism and white privilege. And if all the knighthoods went to racial minorities, it wouls still be racism, because plenty of people in those minorities would still not get one.

  17. Hugh McLoughlin
    30th December 2019, 15:26

    Bearing in mind than Professor Ian Donald, who was professor of Midwifery at the University of Glasgow and who developed medical ultrasound which has saved thousands and thousands, if not millions, of lives of both expectant mothers and their unborn children, never received a knighthood, why should the likes of Lewis Hamilton get one?

    1. He got a CBE. Scottish people often get shortchanged in the honours system, which doesn’t help the racism charge, given that most of the commitee that makes the decisions is English…

  18. Who cares? Silly nobility titles, I’ll never understand their importance.

    1. Yup, like those stupid medals the Americans hand out. At least the brits can claim tradition going back 700 years. What excuse do other countries come out with?

      1. No I dont mean that, as you well know. The Brits have similar heroism medals, but they are usually handed out by royals who have served in war zones. Unlike the coward and his family across the pond.
        You do understand America has over 300 different categories for non military/non heroism awards? Or do you think other people are as ill-informed as you are?

        1. Well perhaps you should have been more clear, Ian. If you’re going to compare the Presidential Medal of Freedom to some of these silly titles of nobility, you’re more stupid than I thought. None of our medals are titles of nobility, no fairy tale BS here, no quarreling over someone becoming “Sir” something, unless you count Sir Mix-a-Lot.

        2. @jblank, the system that is implemented in the US does have parallels with the system of military honours that existed elsewhere in the world though, which is essentially what titles such as a knighthood came from.

          In some ways, what the USA has is a system that reflects and was derived from many of those martial traditions, just altered to reflect the environs of a republic instead of a constitutional monarchy: for example, having a system where military veterans are invited to the formal inauguration of the President as head of state does resemble the system of inviting members of military orders, such as a knight, to the coronation of a monarch.

          In that situation, if the person has a particular medal or a chivalric title is, in some ways, not hugely different – whilst they might have a different title, they are, in some senses, fulfilling a similar symbolic role (symbolically representing the martial duties of the head of state) irrespective of what they’re called.

      2. @riptide The right to make their own traditions (which seems fair enough to me).

  19. Personally I think sports stars get knighthoods far too soon in life, cricketers, olympians etc.

    LH is a worthy candidate when the time comes.

    1. The great Jackie stewart got his gong 28 years after he’d retired from the sport.
      The last thing Lewis needs is to be set apart from his peers with a decoration like this.

      Just because he’s british and a champion does’t mean he is entitled to a gong, there are other qualities besides sporting success. Recognition of this kind, is for what you do for the sport. Lewis has the rest of his life to
      achieve this higher recognition.

      1. @AjaxnThat’s if he wants a knighthood… He’s already in the top 5000 taxpayers to the UK economy and he already gives away to charity but that never registers.
        Basically he’s a touchpaper icon – there’s no middle ground for people around Hamilton. If you don’t like him you will ignore all the good stuff he’s done off track and if you like him, he walks on water.

        Personally, I think he understands he’s not getting one and so he will just focus on enjoying his well-earned financial rewards. After F1, he may stay involved with Mercedes and whatever developments they take forward. He’ll continue paying taxes and contributing to good causes and living the life he’s worked towards.

    2. It’s debatable whether sports stars deserve knighthoods at all, but if the answer is yes, it makes perfect sense to knight them towards the end of their sports career — which is of course still a young age. Sport is different from most professions in that achievements are accumulated early in life. If said achievements merit an award, it might as well be granted then and there, instead of withholding it for an arbitrary amount of time.

      Ironically, just as I typed this out, I realized how beneficial a little bit of patience could have been in the case of drug cheats Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mo Farah.

  20. This has to do with the country recognising excellence and awarding it (nobility and royalty are just a dressing for that .. it you think otherwise , you miss the point) . Andy Murray is still playing and he got one. Chris Hoy was barely out of the saddle. Mo Farah is still on the track and Kelly Holmes had barely come off it. Lewis’ achievements (IMHO) eclipse many of those. By any measure his non inclusion for a knighthood this year is an oversight. Yes, his time will come… but it should have been now. What Britain gets out of it is an icon that it can use to encourage others to excellence. It confers on the holder a responsibility to represent the country’s highest ideals.. Why wait? I won’t cast any aspersions as to why he wasn’t chosen. But it was an error… hopefully to be corrected before long.

    1. Personally, I think it’s wrong he was overlooked this year, when as you say some others decorated have achieved far less. How can someone like Ben Stokes be awarded an OBE after brawling outside a nightclub, but clean living Lewis not be recognised after a 6th world title?

    2. Lewis deserved a knighthood more than any other British sports person this year. I am certain that he will be offered one in the future, probably not next year as sport will be dominated by Olympics. Andy Murray achieved three wins at Wimbledon including one during the Olympics gold medal final. Something that had not be done in the men’s game since 1936. The F1 world championship only started in 1950 and during that time Britain has had 10 drivers world champions, four of them multiple DWCs. So what Murray achieved has been unprecedented in British sport.

  21. As I recalled f1fanatic.co.uk became racefans partly because the sites audience is global. Why are we so interested in knighthoods. Dieter aren’t you South African? I guess royalty is infectious. Anyway, the article is very good and should answer most fans questions, ending the discussion, at least until next year.
    The only thing that I would add is that it is not just f1’s may not be the only thing dragging Ham down, Hamilton might drag himself down because of living in a tax haven, using several companies set by whoever manages Ham money to evade taxes on a plane, but I mean like many have pointed out you don’t have to be a saint to get an honour.

    1. @peartree Other nations, as a rule, haven’t awarded honours in a specific, consistent way to motorsport participants to have the issue that the British system faces. One has to have a precedent before it is possible to object to an alleged breach of it.

  22. Yet folk point to cricketers who receive honours after winning a single World Cup

    It was not even a win. Just a tie.

  23. Theresa May is a cricket fan – this honours list has her stamp all over it.

  24. He legally avoids big chunks of what would be a sizeable tax liability by living in Monaco, I don’t think that has prevented him being honoured so far as many others have done the same before him, but it should do. The honours system is not fit for purpose currently.

    1. …but it should do.


  25. With all due respect to Mr. Dieter, and I am no journalist! I think this article really needs an interview from a representative from the Royal Family to get exactly the reasons why. Your article makes a good basis for why our expectations should be tempered.. But these are events that happened against so many variables. I was not coninced! The only way to really satisfy us is to ask Buchingham Palace! Looking forward to that!


    1. Apart from handing out the things the royal family have virtually nothing to do with the process. Although as we see in the case of JS it does help to have close connections and friendships with various royal family members.

      And in the case of LH if he is desperate to have one he should spend more time strutting around Silverstone during the GP in his BRDC badged jacket looking to glad hand a few members of british motor racing hierarchy, because that is where the process starts.

    2. @david-beau That would not go anywhere – the commitee that decides these matters is required to keep its deliberation process secret. No chance of interviewing by any journalist.

  26. Martin Groensdal
    31st December 2019, 0:03

    British-built kit? Why the Deutschlandlied then?

    1. I said BUILT.

    2. @Martin Groensdal Because the team (or rather its parent company) chose to declare to the FIA that it was registered in Germany. At least it has some sort of facility there…

      The most extreme examples I can think of for this effect are Benetton in 1996 and Force India in 2008. They registered themselves to the FIA as Italian and Indian respectively, despite their only link in each case being their team boss’s nationality. The national anthem played is determined by the nationality of registration the FIA receives.

  27. Prejudice/ Racism is written all over this regarding Lewis Hamilton. When he is out there on the track risking his life for the sport he loves and he wins, the whole country hails him as the ‘ Britsh F1 champion’s the best ever having won 4 times …..more than Jackie Stewart or Sterling Moss. All these rich people avoid paying taxes….Richard Branson eg. Andy Murray won Wimbledon how manyy times and got a knighthood after which he got injured and will never return to top form.
    Cmon, What else does Lewis need to do to be knighted? If it were a white British driver I can bet you they would have been knighted. FACT !!!!!!!!

  28. It might help Lewis to get a knighthood when he stops being concerned about his looks , social media activities, ‘status’ and instead live a less public live an

    1. You mean like Elton John?

    2. Yet he’s currently the least active on social media

    3. Hamilton’s first concern after he gets out of his car is how his hair looks, instead of giving a proper reaction on the race….

      1. No his first concern is the fans, inspect damage, thank his team; and in the case of WDC thank Marc Hynes and Angela Cullen; before he even takes his helmet off. But you knew that already; didn’t you?

  29. He’s the best driver in f1 we had

  30. Most countries don’t even have knighthood anymore. He is a celebrity recognized for his fame. That is the new way.

    He has X million of followers on social media, so he’s the knight of modern times.

    Certainly he is a Knight of Motorsport. Just like Schumacher is a Baron… hehe.

    I don’t really know what the fuss is all about? Does Lewis not get enough recognition? He needs to be placed next to Messi as best sportsman of the year?

    He does his thing, he does it well, many of us do something well, he just does it better than anyone else in the field. We know it, he knows it what else do we need?

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      31st December 2019, 9:24


      Most countries don’t even have knighthood anymore

      Which monarchy does not do knighthoods anymore?

      1. How many countries are still monarchies?

      2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_monarchs_of_sovereign_states#List

        there are only a few monarchies in the world.

        Most countries where there is any more modern system of government do not have knighthood.

        1. No, but most have an an honour system. America had literally hundreds of civilian honour classifications. So do you object to the system or just the word knight?

  31. He should certainly have won BBC’s Sports Personality of the year, if nothing else!

  32. Is winning multiple world championships enough to call him Sir Lewis. In the end has he done something that has change the sport so much he is worth of knigthood? Sir Jackie improved safety. Brabham won in his own machinery and Moss won all around the globe.

    Now is not the time but maybe in the distant future (perhaps after winning in Ferrari?)

    1. Good point. Lewis should try winning around the globe first. Oh, hang on…

  33. The explanation still doesn’t work.
    Hamilton is probably Britain’s greatest ever sportsperson. That simple. Who else among Britons has dominated over a decade of their sport in such a complex category with multiple demands (physical, mental, technical)? He is also probably en route to be the highest achieving statistically in his sport and certainly one of the very best in terms of talent and dedication. Yet figures like Murray (tennis), not even the best among contemporaries, get knighted?

    1. @ DavidBR Sorry but your analogy is wrong. It matters zip when you fail to introduce the most important factor in F1…the car. No matter how fit physically/mentally a driver is, without a superior car you will not win races. Just think about marathon runners for example. Does one manufacturer of shoes seriously affect the performances of the runners? Some even run barefoot…true athletic prowess. Three hour tennis matches/marathons are another example of supreme fitness and mental capacity. No, F1 cannot be compared so long as the car plays the singular most important part. If you accept the current theory that Verstappen is as fast a driver as Hamilton then why didn’t he win the WDC.? Conversely, would Hamilton have won the WDC had he been driving the MacLaren?

  34. Very well reasoned article.
    I for one have never understood the flack Hamilton gets in this country for his tax arrangements.
    Among the chief critics are the Daily Telegraph, who incidentally are owned by billionaires with
    questionable tax arrangements. Yet, obviously, the DT will never write up a piece
    on its owners despite claiming to be patriotic.

    Our Queen’s empire was also implicated in those tax leaks for god’s sake.

    Then comes previous world champions and drivers before Hamilton like Button and Coulthard-
    they never received the same vitriol.

    I will agree that Hamilton’s omission has little if anything to do with his ethnicity. But when you look
    at some of the names who have received the highest gong it really does expose the seemingly kleptocratic
    nature embedded in the selection of those who get a knighthood. People like Jimmy Savile or Philip Green
    spring to mind.

  35. Lewis haters calm down he doesn’t want no damn knighthood and this article pointing out all the paths and work he needs to undertake to get one is rediculas too, you forgot to add molest countless children, gross miss conduct with corpses (Saville) , a general cocky nature to Lord your opinion over others when you record pales into insignificance next to theres (Stewart). The fact there is a path people can deliberately take to get into the running for a knighthood says it all, sure a bit of cash flowing this way and that helps to grease the wheels too.. and this nonsense notion that it’s linked to the amount of tax you pay (also another sly dig from the lewis hate brigade) shows how miss-informed people are about who half the people are who get these so-called honours…

    1. @ Leo…so just so i get this right..are you in fact stating that .when and if he gets offered a knighthood that he will and should decline the offer? IMO he’d chew his own arm off to get his hands on a knighthood, but that’s just my opinion. I simply can’t imagine in a million years his team of expensive high profile PR handlers telling him it’s a ‘no go’. Not good for the image. hahaha. Surely you post in jest.

  36. 200,000+ signatures asking that the proposed knighthood for Iain Duncan Smith is rescinded because of the misery he’s created with the Universal Tax and here we have Hamilton being bashed on this web-page.
    Tax – he’s in the top 5000 UK taxpayers.
    Charitable Causes – he does that.

    Maybe he should take a leaf from those who refused the honour when it came. He’s be in better company than the company of Jimmy Saville / Philip Green etc. and it will snub those F1 fans who simply don’t want him knighted because of their own personal reasons.

  37. Racism!!!! … PERIOD! pure n simple.
    No two ways going through the subject.
    Anyways,#LH44 doesn’t need a “PAT” on the shoulder n that too by an old hag ,to let him know that he is a “LEGEND”.

  38. I was hoping to see something from John Cleese opining here, but I guess he realised he wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

  39. The reason that Hamilton never got this ‘relic’ award is, IMO, because he doesn’t deserve it. All the jingoism in the world. makes no difference. Hamilton is a very very good driver but so are so many others. He could not have won all the WDC’s if he hadn’t had such superior cars for such a long time. The domination of the post ’13 introduction of hybrids reinforces that. A good driver in a far superior car will always take the cake as it were. Hamilton wants a Knighthood desperately and all the ‘fluff’ given to his activities etc etc are all stage managed by his PR team so that he’s always seen 24/7. They are very good at doing that. Take this vegan nonsense as a prime example!!! What is particularly galling is this ‘British’ thing that we are incessantly fed by the British media. If anyone challenges this confected identity they are immediately assessed as ‘haters’. That is simply not so. Yes, there may be some but most of us who challenge the ‘Hamilton’ myth do so as a direct refutation of the overwhelming Hamilton social construct.

    1. Kenji: You are 100 % right.
      Hamilton, Knight? Que bobagem !!
      Ask Vertapen, 60% of the grid would beat him if they had the same car. In 2019 Brasil, he was passed many times, by inferior cars but driven by better drivers. More examples needed?

    2. So all those years that he won, why didn’t his teammate win with the same car? You argument is illogical. You cannot win a race with a slow car or a slow driver. It takes both to be of great quality to generate a champion. F1 knows it so the have put the best driver with the best car. You can’t expect to put him in a Lada Riva and expect a win. Bottas gave Hamilton a run for his money in 2019 but Lewis still came out on top. I know that you don’t think it but you really sound like a hater.
      Have you not noticed that the Mercedes are no longer the fastest cars and Ferrari is probably faster. Did they win? No they didn’t!

  40. Comparing Hawthorn to Hamilton is preposterous. Lewis has a much, much bigger career.
    And dismiss the racism factor only by demographic percentage is even more preposterous.

  41. Perfidious Albion
    14th July 2020, 14:26

    The facts dictate it is racism. We may not like it, but if you were born in the 1950’s or earlier you would have lived through the dying days of Empire and witnessed how our black brothers and sisters were treated. Why do you think that Prince Harry and his wife withdrew from the Royal Family? Did you not observe Harry’s wedding day on television when his new mother-in-law was cold shouldered by the nobility! I could go further into historical precedents, but you all know in your heart of hearts if the driver under discussion was one of the ruling classes and by definition, white, the honours would have been incalculable.

Comments are closed.