Mercedes-Benz chairman Dieter Zetsche says he is unconcerned by F1 champion Lewis Hamilton's 'rock star' lifestyle away from the sport, so long as his personal actions remain in line with the company's 'brand values'.
Hamilton's lifestyle beyond F1 has come under scrutiny over the past 12 months, most notably his use of social media, his vacations and his presence at numerous sporting, entertainment and fashion events, leading some to suggest his commitment to F1 will wane as a result.
However, it is a view that isn't shared by leading figures at Mercedes – with whom Hamilton has won two of his three titles -, with his F1 boss Toto Wolff coming out in support by saying he is happy for his driver to pursue personal endeavours so long as the Englishman keeps winning.
It is a view that is echoed by chairman of the Mercedes-Benz company, with Zetsche contending that so long as his 'rock star' lifestyle doesn't deviate from the German firm's values, his huge fan following can only be considered a positive for the brand.
“As long as Lewis wins races he can organise the rest of his life, as long as it is within the scope of our brand values, as he wants to,” he is quoted by motoring publication Auto Express
“And when you look at the relevance of his personality and the social networks with 12 million followers and so on, what can we wish for more than a rock star? He's the fastest on the track and that's perfect.”
Reflecting on the bubbling rivalry between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Zetsche again doesn't believe the inter-team rivalry is necessarily a negative, describing the pair as a 'perfect couple'.
“At the same time we have the other guy who's as fast and has a very different lifestyle with a family and a kid. These are the two bookends and I think we are really very lucky to have them, they are the perfect couple, absolutely.”
Zetsche goes to say that while he accepts Mercedes' dominance isn't necessarily ideal for F1, he believes it is up to rivals to bridge the margin, not for the team to be pegged back.
“We want to win,” he continued. “Preferably in the last race by two points. But this is not our task to reduce the gap, but the task of our competitors.”