Formula 1 fans eagerly anticipate the end-of-season FIA prize gala, a glamorous event that brings together the top three drivers in the standings. However, Lewis Hamilton’s recent habit of skipping this prestigious occasion could see him facing another fine this year.
The FIA regulations strictly mandate the attendance of the top three drivers at the prize gala. With only one race remaining in the current season, Hamilton is guaranteed to finish in third place, making his presence mandatory at the upcoming event in Baku.
This wouldn’t be the first time Hamilton has been in hot water for missing the prize gala. In 2021, following the controversial season finale in Abu Dhabi, where Max Verstappen secured the title, Hamilton chose not to attend. This decision resulted in a fine, a consequence he may find himself facing again if history repeats itself.
The 2021 fine didn’t go unnoticed, as Hamilton expressed his displeasure with the FIA’s handling of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Nevertheless, he turned the situation into a positive by earmarking the fine for a charitable cause. Hamilton stated, “There will be some sort of fine re: the gala, but we’ve worked together to make sure that the money will be put towards youths from underprivileged backgrounds [to help] them get into motorsport engineering.”
Last year, Hamilton once again skipped the gala, citing no obligation to attend. Despite winning the Action of the Year award for his spectacular double overtake at the 2022 British Grand Prix, Hamilton did not face a fine on that occasion.
Hamilton’s recent performance at the Las Vegas Grand Prix saw him finish in seventh place, a result he might typically label as dismal. However, despite challenges and bad luck during the race, Hamilton maintained a positive outlook. He expressed his satisfaction, saying, “I’m really happy to have had a positive race, and I’m really grateful that the race was so good. It was like Baku, but better.”