Hamilton tax u-turn draws mixed reaction

Tue, 30 October 2007, 04:16

Lewis Hamilton’s announcement on Monday that he is leaving the country to live in Switzerland met with a mixed reaction from the British press.

The 22-year-old rookie explained that he decided to quit Britain because the local press and fans make his life too difficult.

“You lose your ability to go to places,” he told the BBC, referring to his process of becoming a famous Briton in 2007.

“You really struggle to live a normal life. I’ve not been able to spend a lot of time with my friends, my family.

“I can’t go to the cinema. I go to the bathroom in a petrol station and people come in there for autographs,” Hamilton added.

British newspapers, however, corrected the McLaren driver’s account of why he selected Switzerland for refuge.

“(Swiss) people don’t come up to you. They leave you, they give you your space,” Hamilton said.

He failed to mention that Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld live in Switzerland also because of the favourable tax conditions for foreigners who work abroad.

The Times headlined: “Swiss allow rookie to swerve high taxes”.

The Daily Telegraph: “Lewis Hamilton flees Britain’s taxing way of life”.

The Guardian: “Goodbye Hamilton Way as Lewis takes Swiss route”.

The latter is an ironical reference to the fact that, just a day earlier, Hamilton’s home town of Stevenage said it would name a street in his honour.

The Daily Express observed: “Lewis Hamilton has proved his ability at tackling bends but today the formula one star showed that U-turns are his speciality.”

To the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag at the weekend, Hamilton had said: “Higher taxes perhaps interests the management, but not me.”

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