Why Did Lewis Hamilton Sell His Cherry Red Bombardier Challenger?

Lewis Hamilton sold his Bombardier Challenger 605 in 2019.

British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has probably done more to promote motorsport worldwide due to his high-profile lifestyle and his exploits in the music and fashion world. More recently, the seven-time world champion has become better known as a spokesperson for sustainable living, which is why he decided to ditch his private jet.

Over the years, Hamilton has managed to amass a great deal of money, to the extent that he owns a house in the West End of London, a penthouse in Monaco, and another in New York overlooking the Hudson River. He also has an impressive multi-million dollar car collection that includes Shelby Cobras, Ferraris, and several Mercedes.

Hamilton does not like planes that are painted white

When appearing on the night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live, Hamilton said the following, according to sports website Essentially Sports:
“So we travel a lot! I love cars and I love planes. So let me explain. Every time at the airport you see these really sad old white planes with the saddest stripe down at the side. I was like ‘If I get a plane, I’m gonna pimp it out!”

Not long after the interview, the Mercedes team driver went out and bought a Bombardier Challenger 605 for $29 million. True to his word, the first thing the Formula One ace did was have it painted cherry red and register it as G-LCDH. He selected the registration letters to represent his full name, Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton.
Bombardier developed the Challenger 605 from the Challenger 604 and improved the aircraft with an updated cabin with larger windows, a new tail cone, and a Collins Pro Line 21 system flight deck. Able to accommodate as many as 19 passengers, the Bombardier Challenger 605 has a top speed of Mach 0.85 and a range of 4,600 miles.

The aircraft was registered in the Isle of Man

The British Formula One star and his private jet made the headlines in November 2017 after his name appeared in the infamous Paradise Papers. The Paradise Papers were a series of electronic financial documents relating to offshore investments. After the secret information was leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, a can of worms was opened, describing how some wealthy individuals had avoided paying taxes.

One of those named was Lewis Hamilton, who reportedly received a Value Added Tax (VAT) refund of $4.4 million. When discussing the refund, his lawyers said everything was correct as the plane had been registered in the Isle of Man, not the United Kingdom.

For those unfamiliar with the Isle of Man, it is a self-governing British Crown dependency tax haven in the Irish Sea. The reason why so many planes are registered in the Isle of Man is because there is no capital gains, inheritance, or corporation tax.

Hamilton had a rethink and changed his lifestyle

After using the jet to get to and from races, in 2017, Hamilton had a rethink about how he lived and decided to forgo meat in favor of a plant-based diet. His rethink came about after learning about animal cruelty and the harm humans do to the planet.

Rather than just speaking out, he set an example by becoming vegan and doing everything he could to offset his carbon footprint. This, of course, involved selling his polluting Bombardier Challenger 605. The aircraft was bought by Norwich Airport (NWI)-based British private jet charter company SaxonAir Charter Limited.

Even though he still has a classic car collection, he never drives them, preferring to get around using electrically powered vehicles. Nowadays, whenever he can he travels commercially, but made the news during the summer when he chartered a Cessna Citation to fly to the Spa Grand Prix in Belgium.

While he may have been criticized for this, it is worth remembering that Hamilton donates more money to charities than any other athlete.

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