Lewis Hamilton has walked into another public relations storm after being asked to cover up an offensive acronym that he had had included on his latest crash helmet design for the US Grand Prix in Austin.
While determined to celebrate F1's return to the United States, Hamilton's decision to request the inclusion of the initials H.A.M attracted criticism from those who are aware of the meaning of the phrase and, following the furore over the colourful language used on the Abu Dhabi podium he was duly asked to cover the slogan up ahead of qualifying. Hamilton has already referred to 'H.A.M' in mid-season tweets about his musical preferences, and the helmet faux pas
only adds to a growing list of PR gaffes he has stumbled into in an otherwise positive year.
While Hamilton reverted to his regular helmet for qualifying, front row rival Sebastian Vettel was also forced to make changes to his helmet, after his specially-themed design was found to display the Red Bull slogan 'gives you wings' on the crown. With advertising on the top of helmets frowned upon due to its visibility from onboard cameras, Arai's Peter Burger initially covered the words with black tape, before tape with a wood-style finish - to complement the unusual livery - and a Texas Rangers badge were used to better effect.
Hamilton, meanwhile, has revealed that he is considering following in Michael Schumacher's footsteps and giving himself a base in the United States, although it is not likely to be an imminent move following his decision to join Mercedes for 2013.
“One day, I might move out here," the 27-year-old boyfriend of American X Factor
judge Nicole Scherzinger told Britain's Sun
newspaper, "I've not decided where I want to raise my kids yet, [and] I'm always thinking about where I'm going to be in the future. It's not that I am getting serious, but it is important that I look after my future as well."
Hamilton denied that he was planning to follow fellow XIX client David Beckham and head for Hollywood, insisting that it was the entire American way of life that appealed.
"It could be the East or West Coast - I just like the States," he confirmed, “Beckham moved because that was his career. I'd just be moving for the weather and the lifestyle. The cars are all big, the roads are big. It's just relaxed."
Unlike the attitude towards helmet designs.....