F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said he feel's Lewis Hamilton's decision to sign up with Simon Fuller's management company XIX Entertaiment has been a 'disaster'.
Having split with father Anthony prior to the 2010 season, Hamilton's career was guided by McLaren last year before he signed with Fuller's company – which looks after David Beckham and Andy Murray alongside a range of figures from the entertainment world – at the start of 2011.
This season has seen Hamilton endure problems both on and off track and Ecclestone said he felt some of the issues were down to the Briton being involved with people who 'weren't good for him'.
"I think he had some personal problems during the year which affected him quite a lot,” he told the Guardian
. “A lot to do with these things, it depends an awful lot on the people you surround yourself with, and who are in a position to influence you. I think he just fell into a lot of people that I think weren't good for him. When his dad was looking after him, his dad was a bit more … obviously it didn't suit Lewis, which was why they split, I think he didn't appreciate how much help his dad was.
"I think [the deal is] a disaster. He gets to meet people that probably he wouldn't have met, and [who] have probably the wrong sort of influence on him. He's at the age, perhaps, and he has the amount of money, where when he's influenced, he can carry things through, which he wouldn't normally have done."