Honda F1 website

AUGUST 28, 2007

Hamilton considers moving aboard

Lewis Hamilton says he is considering moving abroad because life in Britain is becoming a little more difficult as media intrusion in his life has increased. Hamilton was speaking after stories in Britain linked him to one of McLaren team boss Mansour Ojjeh's daughters and showed photographs which seemed to suggest they were frolicking in the waves.

"My whole holiday was in the papers," Hamilton said. "I was on the boat trying to relax but I couldn™t swim because I knew the cameras were waiting. Every time I go to London, cameras appear from God knows where. Pressure on the track doesn™t get to me, I™m able to manage it and get on with the job. But in your personal life, it affects you. You just have to brush it off, but some people can do that better than others."

A move abroad will certainly make sense as Hamilton begins to earn more and more money and there are rumours that McLaren has already agreed a better financial deal for Lewis just to make sure that he is happy after his extraordinary start in Formula 1. The word is that there is a five year deal in place.

The obvious place to go is Monaco but that means living in relatively cramped accommodation and several F1 drivers have in recent years chosen Switzerland as their tax haven. The country currently has around 3600 super-rich people who take advantage of a fiscal system which allows them to pay taxes based on the value of their property rather than on their income. Different cantons are currently allowed to choose their own taxation rates but the average tax is five times the annual rent or mortgage payments on a home. The minimum tax bill in these circumstances is around $60,000 per annum. This, and attractive company taxes, have generated much income for the cantons.

In addition to that the Swiss seem to be very ambivalent to international celebrities, allowing them to lead relatively normal lives in palatial houses, notably in the delightful countryside between Geneva and Lausanne, where many of the super-rich live.