Lewis Hamilton received a 'stack of cease and desist' letters from Bernie Ecclestone
Despite being one of the biggest stars in motorsport, even Lewis Hamilton couldn't avoid Bernie Ecclestone's legal department prior to Liberty Media's takeover of the sport.
During his time as Formula 1 CEO, Ecclestone did his best to control every aspect of the sport, and its well known that his legal department were kept busy shutting down unauthorised websites using the F1 trademark, YouTube uploads and even trying to control fan footage.
That, according to F1's head of digital under Liberty Media, Frank Arthofer, even extended to Hamilton.
"A great story that Sean Branches, who’s my boss and runs the business at F1 tells, is [about] when Liberty bought the business [and] one of his first meetings was a lunch with Lewis Hamilton," Arthofer revealed at the SportsPro OTT summit as quoted by RaceFans.
"Lewis brought with him to that lunch a stack of ‘cease and desist’ letters from Bernie Ecclestone because Lewis was taking clips of his onboards and posting them on his Instagram channel.
"And Lewis Hamilton, as I’m sure most of the audience knows, is arguably the biggest star in the history of the sport and has a huge crossover potential across urban culture, music, lifestyle."
Things have been relaxed under Liberty Media – accredited sites like Motorsport Week can even film in the paddock now, which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago – and Arthofer therefore sees opportunity in relaxing those rules, particularly with drivers and teams.
"Working with the drivers and the teams in a more collaborative way to build the sport we think benefits not just Formula 1 but our partners, be that sponsors, broadcast partners and promoters," added Arthofer.
"[It] is a really, really important component of the strategy and probably something we’re still in the early stages of doing well."