Damon Hill believes Lewis Hamilton's high-profile lifestyle is good for Formula One, as long as it does not affect his performances.
Hamilton claimed his third world championship in 2015 despite coming in for criticism for perceived extravagance in his life away from the track.
Hill – a winner of the drivers' championship in 1996 – believes the celebrity status enjoyed by the 31-year-old can, however, be of benefit to the sport.
"He's using F1 as his own launchpad for himself and some people might say we're not so interested in what you're wearing, what hat you've got on, or what club you went to, but other people are," he said at the Autosport International show on Sunday.
"We've got a driver out there in the world, putting himself about, enjoying his life, enjoying his celebrity status, enjoying the fact that he's a three-times F1 world champion.
"People who may know nothing about F1 say who the hell are you? He says: 'I race F1, watch me'. That's got to be good for the show."
The former Williams driver says Hamilton is entitled to do as he wishes in his personal life, as long as it does not impact upon his displays in the car.
"The only time it really concerns the sport is whether or not a driver's lifestyle is affecting his performance," he added.
"Some of the speculation about his form does sometimes centre on whether or not he's been in the gym, or in the factory working on his performance.
"So he invites that criticism, I think. He's got to accept that, and I think he does."