Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2019

Hamilton donates $500,000 to Australian bushfire wildlife causes

2020 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton has donated half a million dollars to help animals affected by the serious bushfires in Australia which have been burning since September.

In a series of posts of social media, Hamilton said “it saddens me deeply to know that over one billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault,” he said. The University of Sydney has estimated the number of animals affected by the fires.

“My love of animals is no secret and I can’t help but grieve for the defenceless animals thought to have died so far, pushing certain species closer to extinction,” Hamilton added.

“I’m lucky enough to visit Australia often and I know first-hand how beautiful the country is. Keep fighting Australia. I’ve spent some time speaking to people in Australia who are working at the heart of this and I’m filled with admiration for everything they are doing.

“I implore you to join me in thinking about the impact we are having on our planet. Let’s work together to make small changes, and encourage our family and friends to do the same, so we can help shift the direction we’re going in.

“I’m donating $500K to support Wires Wildlife Rescue, World Wide Fund for Nature Australia and the Rural Fire Services. If you are able and haven’t already, you can donate too. Every little helps.”

Formula 1 Management is gauging whether the fires could affect the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Victoria in two months’ time. Victoria has again officially declared a state of disaster as very hot and unpredictable weather conditions are forecast for Friday.

Other drivers including Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon and Antonio Giovinazzi have also expressed concerns over the fires

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

63 comments on “Hamilton donates $500,000 to Australian bushfire wildlife causes”

  1. Nice to see some people who have plenty donating plenty.

    1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      10th January 2020, 3:42

      Nice to see he walks the talk. Congratulations.

      1. He always has.

    2. You may have little, did you donate little?

    3. Why do I get the feeling Lewis will join Megan and Harry in Canada?

  2. And this is F1 news how?

    1. No clue. There’s no F1 personality involved in this news.

  3. Whilst I applaud the notion, last time this happened in australia enough money was collected to rebuild everyone who had lost homes.and business buildings to the red cross (over a billion dollars) but 5 years later only a handfull of people had actually been helped. True story.

    He would be better off contracting a builder to do actual work than giving to charity.

    1. False story. Every single sentence.

      There hasn’t been a recorded bushfire season in Australia that has covered as much land as the current season and we’re barely half way through. Organisations like the Red Cross aren’t in the business of handing out donations to businesses to rebuild, they provide aid.

      How many Australian builders do you think Lewis knows, and how many of them could he trust to actually do the ‘right’ thing with his donation.

      1. 500,000 might cover the cost of two or three homes if directly donated. The amount the RC will allocate will be zero. It will all be eaten up in bureaucracy. I doubt Australia will ever see a penny of it.

        1. Who said anything about building homes. Its going to wildlife, rescue and fire services. Anyway you got any links to any article about millions being denoted for homes, and every penny going missing? Must be loads of articles out there.

          1. People can advocate for themselves. Animals cant talk. If this happens for people, what happens for the “billions” of non talking animals? Thats the point.

            Re evidence, like you say there should be media about it. And there is, although it didnt make big news in Australia for some funny reason.

          2. @Mog

            Maybe it didn’t make ‘big’ news because it wasn’t verified. Some donations will be lost to bureaucracy, unfortunately it takes a lot of administration to make sure that funds are spent properly, but saying that donations are a waste of time is ludicrous.

            Are you suggesting that ‘we’ the Australian press and public have inflated the number of animals effected by the bushfires that have decimated over 19million acres of natural habitat.

        2. I hope we don’t see any penny’s, bloody useless in this country.

    2. Total rubbish.

    3. exactly

    4. But we need to let these rebuild where feel more safe many have lived wherethe fires ravaged, this is the worst bush fires in living memory? Let them build where theyou want some want the beauty of tRees around them but planned and exits they can trust. The land! They wasn’t to rebuild they want to make it safe again, so let’s help!

    5. @Mog

      Christ you’re thick. Do you seriously believe this? Or do just enjoy making up wild stories to please the friends that live in your head?

  4. Thanks Champ.

  5. I thought It would be for a bounty to catch the arsonists who set the fires. Last time I looked, animals don’t use money.

    1. But carers do need paying, medical supplies cost money. Rehabilitation cost money.

      Why do people insist on finding something negative in a purely good story.

      1. With some, because it’s Lewis!

    2. “Last time I looked, animals don’t use money”

      Where do I even begin with this? *sigh*

      1. Just dont, guess the rescue centres, vets and other medical staff support dont exist.
        Its good to see people like Lewis and Metallica helping the cause.

    3. @anon-e moss As a conservation biologist, this feels like an insult. Rescues and rehabilitation centres require money. Conservation projects, both long and short term, need money.

      1. @wsrgo You are entitled to feel any way you want. I don’t know you and didn’t direct any comments at you. But by all means feel insulted, It is the 2019 way. I care not for your ‘feelings’. Homeless and hurt people don’t get a look in but hey let’s use any donations to stick plasters on animals. Fix them up and send them away to die anyway because of the stresses. I’m not having a go at Hamilton, it is his money and good on him for doing more than lip service. Nobody seems to care that the fires were arson. I will always put human beings in distress ahead of animals. Let us hope that if disaster strikes on your lives that money donated to help gets diverted to save animals ahead of you then you’ll get my point. I think it’s called Virtue Signalling, where people stop thinking and just accept everything told to them then attack anyone who says something that doesn’t fit the narrative.

        1. I felt insulted as a biologist, it has very little to do with my personal feelings and a lot more to do with what conservation is and why it’s important. I’m not trivialising human losses at all, but close to a billion animals have been estimated killed and an extremely large area of forested and shrubland has been adversely affected, most of which will take a long time to regenerate. If we spend zero dollars in rescue, rehabilitation and control of fire spread, the realised economic loss will also include permanent loss of ecosystem services, both utilitarian and ecosystem function. Also, don’t even try to co-opt ‘virtue signalling’ when a debate has just begun. It’s a cognitive process that requires a much larger sample size than you have.

        2. Only a small percentage of the fires have been caused by arson. The majority have been dry lightning

  6. I would have been more inclined to give to the volunteers who are willing to sacrifice not only their time but potentially their lives in order to battle this nightmare.

    but I genuinely thank Lewis for giving more than just words.

    1. @nullapax

      I think the title is a touch misleading. His tweets mentioned the Rural Fire Service, which appears to be dedicated to fighting fires in general, not just for animals. It would seem to speak to your concerns

      1. Indeed the Rural Fire Service is a volunteer based fire fighting service that have been putting their lives on the line to combat these bushfires.

        1. Fighting to save others’ homes whilst their own burn :(

  7. A generous gesture.
    Makes Lewis an even more worthy of some recognition from Buckingham palace.

    1. I honestly feel that Buckingham palace doesn’t get to determine Lewis’ worth.

  8. Fantastic gesture but FYI WIRES is a NSW organization and is dedicated to that state. Animals are being affected in just about every state in Australia with fires. WIRES is a high-profile organisation and is getting the most attention and most donations. I hope donators do more research in the people they give to and where the money is dispersed .

  9. Bravo Lewis, one doesn’t need Knighthood to be a stand up guy.
    At this point in time he IS the face of F1, and representing it damn well.
    When one looks at that area map on the BBC News site it puts things into perspective, our California fires were bad but this is horrifying.

  10. A much better use of his money than paying taxes to fund further uk warmongering. Remember this article anyone who yaps about tax evasion. Only an fool would pay taxes when neither the fake queen or trump do.

    1. @megatron

      Who is the ‘fake queen’ ?
      The real Queen of England pays taxes. Income tax, capital gains tax and council taxes.

      Trump at least pays 20% tax on his dividends and capital gains tax. These are unavoidable.

    2. @megatron

      A much better use of his money than paying taxes to fund further uk warmongering

      How ironic that UK’s war mongering is usually in association with Lewis’s sponsors and the oil guzzling payers of his salary.

  11. Lewis’s money could/will be be used to care for injured wildlife and get them out breeding again when the forests recover, which they will do.

    In the grand scheme of things, over 99% of our planet’s species already went extinct. All of Earth’s forests were actually wiped out 250 million years ago.


    1. @bigjoe True, but it’s quite unlikely the forests will recover to the same extent in the scale of a hundred years, which is the maximum lifespan of most conservation initiatives. Even if the areal cover rebounds, the vastly altered microclimates and soil and groundwater levels would mean replacement by very different tree communities.

      1. @wsrgo

        iirc there are plant species in Australia that thrive after bushfires? I remember staying with friends in NSW in the 90s a couple of years after a big fire and there was a lot of positive news about the ‘green shoots’ recovery and how fast it happened.

        1. Yes, there are some. But they don’t deal well with multiple intense fires in quick succession. The mountain ash trees that cover much of Victoria’s and NSW’s alpine regions are fire-germinated, for example – when an intense fire goes through, it kills mature trees, but the seed pods from those trees sprout in the space left behind. But when another fire goes through before those new trees have reached maturity, there are no seed pods to drop and the young trees are killed, leaving nothing.

          We’re now seeing fire frequencies far higher than they were in the past too, and these higher frequencies (like Jarrah forests that had fires every 80 years or so and are now burning every 5 years) now appear to be embedded – the forests are actually changing so that they burn more frequently.

          Then there are other forests (such as the rainforests in northern NSW) that haven’t burned before in living memory, but burned last year.

        2. Just about all the native species will come back after fire.
          Some such as the alpine ash (a eucalypt) need it to release their seeds .
          Unfortunately the animals will be hit hardest. Birds have also been particularly hard hit. They can’t outrun the fire and those which took off out to sea could fly for long enough and ended up dying of exhaustion, unless they were seabirds.
          There has been plenty of money pledged for the rebuilding and insurance will cover much of it but the animal recovery is largely volunteer and donation funded.
          That’s where I will be concentrating my donations .
          By the way I’m an Aussie.

          1. @temple What about the tropical forests in NSW? Aren’t those tree communities slow-growing? In which case, it’ll take several years, maybe even decades for them to re-establish and regenerate.

  12. 2 things..

    I’m never saying a bad word against Lewis again, not that I did too much but it’ll be zero now
    And I’m following suit and making a scaled down donation today, 1:100,000 scale that is ;)

  13. A fantastic gesture from Lewis.

    I’m a bit annoyed at some of the comments which are nitpicking and trying to take away from this gesture. At least he is trying to do something to help a cause which is close to his heart.

    1. Fully agree @geemac.

      I simply cannot believe anyone can find anything negative regarding this gesture.

      Even the actual current Australian F1 drivers contribution is nothing near this (some cash and a raffle for his old suit – I mean really?) and yet the lauding of his generosity is everywhere.

      Anything is something but the hypocrisy shown by commentators is frightening when it’s Hamilton stepping up to the plate.

    2. Helping is always a good thing but maybe some people dislike this approach. Last week there was a very small message somewhere in Dutch media about Max making a donation for the same. Lewis does the same and it’s much more of a buzz.

      I’n my book the goal is most important in this case

      1. edit: Max already did it in November it seems

        1. With all due respect to Max, the buzz would be bigger around Lewis because he is the sports biggest and most well known star.

          1. Surely that helps but it also helps if you bring out a big number on your instagram.

            As I said nothing but respect for him for giving the money but as always he gains from it most this way.

      2. @anunaki

        An emotional response to the sad animal scenes from two people who realise they have too much money. Probably with a little bit of guilt thrown in that they’ll soon be flying to OZ to earn this kind of money in a single day.
        In the UK it’s probably hard for a lot of people to appreciate the wildlife due to being raised in high density housing projects/culture.

        1. Yea its very difficult for us lot over here to appreciate wildlife in the same way you lot can’t appreciate culture.

          1. Ahh yes, the mighty British culture. The one that all but destroyed ours.

    3. It’s ok. Most of the detractors don’t give a penny of their own for any cause or lift a finger except to type their outrage about everything online.

  14. I never liked the guy, but this is simply awesome. Especially as he has man devoted fans all around the world who might follow suit.

  15. Well done Lewis! Very nice gesture.

  16. The best champion we have had in decades

  17. Top guy. As always – walking the walk.
    Incredibly, some still find something negative to say.

Comments are closed.