Lewis Hamilton has revealed his childhood love of football and a desire to make a positive impact on diversity in the sport as the motivation behind his involvement in a bid for Chelsea. Hamilton and his close friend Serena Williams have joined Martin Broughton’s consortium in what is believed to be a bid of more than £200m, which the seven-time Formula One world champion described as an “opportunity to be part of something great”.
Hamilton confirmed his involvement on Thursday and speaking before this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola he explained what had prompted him potentially to invest in the Chelsea bid, even though he is an Arsenal fan.
“I’ve been a football fan since I was a kid,” he said. “I used to play football with all the kids, I was really wanting to fit in. I was the only kid of color there. The kids all supported someone different. One was Tottenham, one was Man United. I remember switching between these teams when I was younger and getting home and my sister Sam punching me several times in the arm, she basically beat me and said I had to support Arsenal. So from five or six years old I became a supporter of Arsenal.
“But my Uncle Terry is a big Blues fan so I’ve been to so many games with him to watch Arsenal and Chelsea play. Ultimately I’m a sporting fan. It’s the biggest sport in the world and Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world, and one of the most successful. When I heard about this opportunity I thought: ‘Wow, this is one of the greatest opportunities to be part of something so great.’”
There are three bids for Chelsea being considered by Roman Abramovich, club executives and the US bank Raine, which is overseeing the sale. Broughton, a businessman and former chair of Liverpool, is a lifelong Chelsea fan and Hamilton maintained he shared with the consortium a positive vision for the club’s future.
“This is a team, it’s all about the community, that’s what really makes a football team, it’s the people in and around it,” he said. “They’ve been quite leading in their work in diversity and inclusion, and becoming more diverse and progressive. Our goal is to continue some of the work they’ve already done and have even more of an impact and engage more with the community.”
Hamilton said he had discussed the bid with Williams, who then agreed to join him in investing. The British driver said the consortium’s values were aligned with his own and that should the bid win, it was to be a long-term project, with success as well as financial viability as key components.
“Naturally it is never the idea of an investment [to lose money],” he said. “I want to be part of something, manage this team moving forward, improve that and make sure that doesn’t happen by slowly decreasing those losses and turn it into a profit-making organization. There is not one part of that consortium that has a mindset of losing. I really think Chelsea already has a winning mindset but we can do better moving forwards.”