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Formula 1 British GP

How Labour’s UK election win led to a last-minute Silverstone F1 podium change

The UK’s 2024 general election occurring just three days before Formula 1’s British Grand Prix where a representative of the country’s government is traditionally invited led to new plans this year

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, 1st position, kisses the winners trophy

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, 1st position, kisses the winners trophy

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The change of government in the UK three days before Formula 1’s 2024 British Grand Prix meant a hasty plan had to be put into action regarding the Silverstone podium.
As is protocol for the British GP, a representative from the UK government – usually a secretary of state – is invited to present the winners’ trophy.
In the previous three years since the COVID-19 pandemic so disrupted the traditional celebrations at the end of F1 races, Nigel Huddleston MP (then the Minister for Sport), Nadine Dorries and Lucy Frazer, the two previous holders of the Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport role who are no longer MPs, all appeared on the Silverstone podium to present the winning prizes.
This trio represented the Conservative Party that had been running the UK since 2010, but as that government’s grip on power began to slip approaching the end of the previous parliamentary term and it was clear a change in governing party was highly likely given a huge opinion poll difference between the incumbents and the Labour opposition, Autosport understands that figures in F1 realised invitations for this year’s British race might need to go to both parties.
When last week’s general election was called on 22 May and polling day was set for Thursday 4 July – the Silverstone media day – it was clear that a new government minister was highly likely to be attending the race, even though they would only have been appointed days earlier.
After Labour’s landslide win, the new Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Peter Kyle MP, appeared at Silverstone on Sunday and presented the famous Royal Automobile Club trophy to winner Lewis Hamilton.
Kyle was joined in presenting the podium prizes by Lord Hayne, the Labour Life Peer co-chair of APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Groups) Motorsport group and David Richards, Motorsport UK chair.

Watch: How Hamilton Triumphed Against the Odds - F1 British Grand Prix Analysis

There was also a representative of race sponsor Qatar Airways, while Hamilton received his first FIA president medal from Mohammed Ben Sulayem – his previous most recent win coming back before that accolade was adopted in late 2022.
“A total privilege to present Lewis Hamilton with the winner's trophy today,” Kyle wrote afterwards on X.
“A true champion who’s a credit to his sport and country. F1 drives innovation, creates incredible highly skilled jobs and boosts our reputation around the world.”
It is not just for the British GP where F1 has been working to create a relationship with the new government.
Autosport understands that senior F1 figures met Thangam Debbonaire – the then shadow secretary for DCMS – at the start of 2024.
Debbonaire then unexpectedly lost her seat in last week’s election, with Lisa Nandy MP chosen as Labour’s new secretary for DCMS instead.
F1 having a strong relationship with the UK government regardless of which party holds power is beneficial for both sides.
This is given the motorsport industry’s worth to the country’s economy is estimated to be north of £10 billion a year, while the championship is also keen to avoid bureaucracy headaches regarding its various supply chains and constant movements of the seven teams that are based in the UK, plus the F1 organisation itself.
These considerations were among the reasons for the team principals of those seven teams and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali meeting Frazer, as well as advisers to the previous prime minister, Rishi Sunak, in Downing Street last July.
In another recent F1 and UK politics link, the Conservatives launched their doomed election campaign’s manifesto from Silverstone on 11 July.

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