Lewis Hamilton‘s wishes to hold the FIA end-of-year Prize Gala in Paris, France for “sustainability” reasons have fallen on deaf ears. The Brit, a passionate environmentalist and vegan, questioned the environmental impact of flying out to Baku, Azerbaijan for the event this year when the FIA could have hosted the prize-giving in Paris, where their headquarters are based.
But instead of taking Hamilton’s advice, the FIA have chosen to host its 2024 Gala in Kigali, Rwanda – an even greater distance away from northern Europe. When asked how he felt about Baku playing host in 2023, Hamilton, who was in attendance to pick up his third-place trophy, said: “I don’t feel a particular way.
“Whilst I really like Baku, it’s really a beautiful place, questions in my mind of whether the FIA is really actually thinking about sustainability because so many people flew out here and the FIA is in Paris and it just would have been easier to stay there.
“But it’s a beautiful arena, it’s a night we all get to come together and celebrate all the achievements of the great people working in the sport, all the amazing drivers that I wouldn’t get to see during the year.”
The FIA’s headquarters in France have hosted the majority of the end-of-year awards in recent times. Yet last year, it went to Bologna, Italy and then to Baku, Azerbaijan in 2023.
Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and Cristian Horner were all present for the ceremony. The drivers scooped their respective third, second and first-place trophies while Horner picked up the Constructors’ Championship title on behalf of Red Bull.
Verstappen and Red Bull obliterated their competition in 2023 as both built up astronomical gaps on their competitors come the end of the season. Although Hamilton certainly didn’t enjoy being beaten week in and week out by his rivals, he was quick to heap praise on the reigning champions.
“I have to say a big congratulations to Red Bull, and Max, and Checo, who have done an incredible job this year,” he said. “Max was faultless and the team really raised the bar.
“We have a lot of work to do to close the gap, but I do believe we can close that gap. Thank you also to my team because they never gave up this year. We started off with the sister of the previous year’s car, which was not good and not fun to drive for most of the year, but no one gave up, everyone continued to show up every day and that is what was most inspiring.”