Lewis Hamilton's career will no longer be looked after by his father Anthony, AUTOSPORT reports
Although the father-son combination has enjoyed an unbreakable bond throughout the former World Champion's rise to the top in Formula 1, both have agreed that the time has come for that relationship to change.
Lewis Hamilton says his growing maturity – especially following the lessons that he learned during difficult spells last year– allied to his dad's burgeoning business interests, have resulted in the pair deciding it best that they look after their own interests more.
In an exclusive interview with AUTOSPORT, Lewis Hamilton said his father was now taking a step back from any business involvement with him as he begins the process of finding a new manager. Until he finds a new manager, McLaren will help provide any support that the 2008 champion needs.
"I'm 25 now, and I think it was inevitable that there had to be change at some point," Hamilton said. "Over the past few years, we looked around to see if we could bring someone else into the picture to help with the situation – whether to help with guidance, or sponsors, or whatever it was. We looked at it and I just never felt comfortable with anyone else. At the time I loved my dad being my manager and taking care of things, because I trust him.
"Other managers you hire as employees, but my dad is my dad. I know he does things for only the right reasons, and I can just trust him with my full heart. But all of this time we were discussing bringing someone else in, we never quite had the confidence to do it. I think we're now at the point where we are looking to take that step – and I think it is a positive step.
"I'm 25. I am my own man now, I've been in F1 for quite a while now and I wouldn't have been able to do it without my dad. He's done a fantastic job. But he's done that job."
Anthony Hamilton's business interests now include setting up the new GP Prep academy, managing several other racing drivers, including Paul di Resta and karting star Nyck de Vries, and work in football through a tie-up with Mark Blundell's management company. Lewis believed that Anthony's efforts in those areas would be helped by not worrying about the McLaren driver's career – while he was personally looking forward to having a more personal relationship with his father.
"The most important thing for me is that I have been with my dad working on my career since I was eight years old, and it was therefore hard to go and do father-and-son things," he said. "When we were at the racetrack he was always my manager, so we always did business things not father-and-son things.
"What I am really, really excited about now is having my dad just as my dad. I want to have a manager, who can take care of all the stresses and do all the other stuff, and then I want to do dad things with my dad. I want to go for a beer with my dad. I want to go bowling with my dad. I want to go on holiday with my dad. And then I want to be able to say to him: 'How is GP Prep going?' And I want to be able to tell him about all the experiences I am having too, but as a dad. I want to be able to have that, and build that relationship."
He added: "You see, because my dad has always been my manager, and because we've always been working and doing business stuff, I've not fully had that relationship with my dad since when I was maybe a kid and we went radio control car racing, and did it just for fun.
"So, that's what I want, and at some stage I am going to have to have a new manager. My dad will guide me and help me with the transition, and even the selection, but as a dad.
"But the great thing is, I am here at McLaren for the next three years at least and, of course, without my dad I would not be in this position. But we at McLaren are a family, the guys all help look after me in many ways, so there is no need for us to rush to find a new manager. We just want to take the right steps in the right time."
Lewis Hamilton also said that the changing of the business relationship with his father meant that it was no longer likely Anthony will continue coming to every race.
"While he loves being at races, I've told him there are 19 this year, so he can come and go as he pleases," he explained. "He can come and enjoy the ones he wants to come to. He has been at every single race of my life, so that will be a new experience for him.
"I had a text message from him the other day and he said it will be cool to sit at home and watch F1 from the couch. He has not done that since we grew up watching F1 together, so it will be a new experience for him. He can relax and be proud, hopefully."
Hamilton believed that the big decision he and his father had made about finding a new manager had left him happier and stronger than he has ever been before in his career.
"I am probably in the best place I've ever been in my life," he said. "I am comfortable. I'm really enjoying it. I am feeling worthy of where I am and what I've achieved – where I am going and what I plan to do.
"And part of that is that now, when I need some advice, I am looking forward to phoning Dad and saying, 'I want to do this, I want to buy that car...' And rather than him coming at it from the business management side of things, he will tell me, 'Oh, I love that car, get me one as well'. I want that kind of relationship. I am excited about having that kind of relationship.
"I want my dad to know and I want everyone to know that he is always going to be my dad. This is us taking a natural progression step. What he is achieving now in his career is great – he is almost more famous than me. Everyone I see, they say: 'Hey, say hi to your dad.' They don't say hi to me. And that is not going to change."