Lewis Hamilton opens up on difficult season for Mercedes
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Hong Kong billionaire Calvin Lo has hinted he would be willing to offer Mick Schumacher a seat in Formula 1 in the future – and opened up on his feelings about Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton. The ambitious life insurance tycoon is hoping to make a significant investment in F1 in the coming years after holding talks with several teams and is already looking at potential drivers to represent his team, with an entry in 2026 on the cards.
Lo, who has amassed his £1.4billion ($1.8bn) fortune from a business focused on managing high-importance life insurance clients, is interested in bankrolling a team when the new regulations come into force in 2026. Several manufacturers such as Porsche, Audi and VW have explored the possibility of entering the sport when new engine rules are introduced.
Lo is a huge fan of Ferrari hero Michael Schumacher after watching him begin his era of dominance at Ferrari to pique his interest in F1 and he has heaped praise on his son Mick, the 23-year-old who lost his seat at Haas to Nico Hulkenberg after two seasons racing in F1.
While the door is not closed on a potential return to the grid in 2024 for Schumacher Jr, with a spot as Mercedes’ reserve driver also still within his grasp, Lo believes he is good enough to earn a seat and insisted it would be an “honour” to hire the 2020 Formula 2 champion if he was available.
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Speaking about the influence of Michael Schumacher of his career, Lo told Express Sport: “I grew up watching Michael Schumacher and the reason why he’s literally my idol is not the success that he has on track, but the way he thinks, the way he reacts and acts faster in each race.
“You read how he reacts when he wins or loses, that shapes how I do my business. If you don’t get a deal, forget it, move forward. It shaped me and I am certain it is how Mick is shaped, growing up watching his dad.
“It’s unfortunate that he lost his seat, but as a driver – every driver on the grid is amazing – I really hope he is able to find a drive somewhere. He obviously has talent otherwise he wouldn’t have been on the grid the last two seasons. I feel like any team would find it an honour to have him on their team. He could be a world champion one day.”
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The 45-year-old certainly has the financial power to provide a much-needed cash injection into struggling teams, with a view of potentially taking control of a team. Lo is the 43rd richest man in Hong Kong with his assets and fortune valued at £1.4billion ($1.8bn) by Forbes and his sponsorship could help teams like Haas and Williams, who have been mentioned as potential suitors.
When asked which drivers on the 2023 grid he would like in his team, with suggestions of an all-Asian lineup including Yuki Tsunoda and Guanyu Zhou, Lo refused to rule out moves for any driver: “At this stage, any two drivers would be great for us,” he said.
As a seven-time world champion, Hamilton is one of the most decorated in the sport and that is a fact Lo recognises, with the Canadian-raised businessman rating him as one of the best to grace the sport. However, Lo also believes that the strategists and mechanics behind the scenes go under the radar for their work in shaping drivers into the stars they are today.
“I met him in passing, I don’t know him personally,” Lo said, when asked if he had spoken to Hamilton before. “Like every driver on the grid, every one of them is incredible sportspeople. It doesn’t matter if you’re first or last, just to be on the grid is incredible. It’s not [about] just one person, the whole team supports them.
“Actually, a real fan should appreciate the driver and the whole team. Lewis Hamilton is obviously one of the best drivers in history. But in general, these F1 workers in the pitlane can be idols for many people. They’re the brightest people, the tactics, designs.
“How amazing that a few hundred people, if not thousand, gather into one pit lane with thousand back at home, all trying to get this car going and I think every driver how they adapt to feedback and use it is incredible. I admire every single one of them, full respect to them.”
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