The story about Lewis Hamilton featuring at this year’s Race of Champions just refuses to go away – despite receiving absolutely no public encouragement whatsoever from the driver or his team.
Well, who among us would not like to see the youngest-ever F1 champion pitting his skills against the likes of Michael Schumacher, Tom Kristensen, Sebastien Loeb, Andy Priaulx and Troy Bayliss at the December 14 event?
And, posing this question very publicly in a press conference for the event held at Wembley today, was event organiser Frederik Johnsson.
He said: “Lewis has said that he wants to do it. It’s a question of whether the team will let him and whether it is possible with his obviously very busy schedule at the moment.
“The invitation is open. We’ve got a second space on Team F1 Racing Great Britain next to David Coulthard.”
The notion that Hamilton could appear will provide a huge marketing boost for the event, which underperformed on ticket sales last time around, probably regardless of whether he actually does or not.
As soon as Coulthard was confirmed as the so-far sole member of a ‘Team F1 Racing Great Britain,’ a team that wouldn’t feature Jenson Button since he was already driving with Andy Priaulx in the long-standing Team GB, it was clear which way organisers’ minds were running.
Indeed the word is that those organisers have been trying to negotiate for months with McLaren to secure Hamilton’s appearance, only to be told that he’d have more important things on his mind until the F1 world championship was decided.
Well, it looks like they may be trying to secure an answer now…
Also at the event was Coulthard himself, performing a role familiar to his fans from many a grand prix press briefing, that of giving the pot a damn good stir.
He said: “If would certainly help me a great deal if Lewis did come along. I’d love to ride on his coat-tails and win something, so Lewis, please come along to the Race of Champions.
“I need your help. Do it for your country.”
But he admitted to being sceptical that it could actually happen: “As [McLaren] have invested so much money in a world champion, why would they want him to come here and finish wherever he finishes?
“Anything other than a win would devalue the image of him being number one in the world. [The organisers] are saying there is still a chance, and it would be fantastic.
“There would be an amazing atmosphere if you had him and Michael here.”