Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
British, 31, Motorsport
Formula One’s most magnetic presence
Representatives: Project Forty Four
Key partners: L'Oréal Men Expert, Bombardier Business Jets, Monster Energy Company, IWC, Bose
2015 ranking: 5
From James Hunt through Ayrton Senna and even, in his way, Michael Schumacher, Formula One has long been a sport which loves a rebellious spirit. In this most individualistic of team pursuits, there is nothing brands and fans alike crave more than a big personality and, in the current field, there remains no personality bigger than the now three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
His star may be on the wane, and his slide down this list from his place atop the podium two years ago should come as little surprise. But Hamilton remains both an exhilaratingly pure racing driver – the kind of competitor who embodies Bill Shankly’s famous dictum that ‘first is first, second is nowhere’ – and an always reliable, ever-bankable global star in his own right.
The tabloid scandals that followed his on-again, off-again relationship with American singer Nicole Scherzinger, and his occasionally confrontational public demeanour, have pushed the old ‘no such thing as bad publicity’ adage to its limits, and his faltering start to the 2016 season may indicate a fading of those brilliant, instinctual reactions which pushed him to the forefront of Formula One as a fresh-faced 22-year-old. For now, though, whatever the wider perception of him, and however he finishes this race calendar, Hamilton remains the figurehead and mascot of a truly global sport – its last rebel standing. AN
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