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F1 drivers reach out for good causes
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F1 drivers reach out for good causes
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 May 2011   |  12:26 pm GMT  |  81 comments

We’ve seen a few examples in recent days of F1 drivers, normally considered some of the most selfish individuals on the planet, using the platform of their fame to reach out for good causes. It is not new for drivers to lend their names to causes, but the scale of it, particularly on road safety, is interesting and suggests a trend whereby the drivers are becoming more ambassadorial.


Mark Webber has led the drivers to help him raise money for Aussie V8 driver Jason Richards, who has a very rare form of cancer. He is currently undergoing treatments in Australia and overseas and there is a great deal of fundraising going on for him in Australia. Webber got all the F1 drivers to sign a Red Bull wishbone and it will be auctioned along with a lot of other cool stuff on www.bid4jase.com.

If you are interested in bidding for the wishbone, go to Jason Richards fundraiser

Meanwhile the UN’s Decade of Action on Road Safety is in full swing and yesterday Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton visited 10 Downing Street to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron. The initiative is a global effort to save five million lives and prevent 50 million serious injuries.


Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, but even then, as Cameron said, “Road accidents are still the leading cause of death for British teenagers and young adults – with the loss of six or seven people in road crashes every day.”

The FIA is behind it, it’s a great way for F1 to seem relevant to the outside world and I know it’s a pet project for Jean Todt as it was for his predecessor Max Mosley. It’s an obvious one for the drivers to get involved with. Hamilton had to duck some awkward questions about his own road driving record, but he handled it well saying that he’s young and has made some mistakes, which actually makes him a more effective role model, especially with the young, because he’s had a wake-up call.

F1 is set to get behind this initiative in a big way and the impact could be quite significant. It’s especially needed in emerging countries, where the new middle class get their hands on cars for the first time. Another sector I always worry about are people who make some money, go out and buy something powerful and then cause big accidents.


Kamui Kobayashi has also rallied the F1 drivers to contribute to a new electronic Formula One e book featuring contributions from all the drivers and team principals which will help the relief effort in Japan after the earthquakes and Tsunami. The “You are connected” app can be purchased via itunes All the money received will go to the Red Cross in Japan.

And not wishing to be left out in this surge of altruism by drivers, Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen has joined forces with the World Heath Organisation to draw attention to a campaign to ensure around improving hospital’s ability to react fast in the event of natural disasters of the kind we’ve seen all too frequently of late in South East Asia. The campaign aims to ensure that health facilities are build to withstand disasters, have contingency plans in place and that staff are trained to help people under post-disaster conditions. And to make sure that the systems don’t fail when most needed. Asking people to “React Fast” Heikki is challenging people to beat his reaction time. You can find out more at WHO Fast Reaction initiative

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81 Comments
  1. And you are forgetting Kamui Kobayashi who today launched his iOS app to help Japan. FOTA, FIA and Driver association is also involved. In the app you can view photos of all F1 drivers and team principals that show their support for the Japanese rebuilding effort. Also features nice action shots of all cars… only $0.99 (or €0.79)..

    1. Michael Grievson says:

      It does mention him and say his app is on itunes.

      1. James updated his article :) It didn’t mention it when it was first posted :)

      2. genji says:

        It didn’t when it was first posted.

  2. Chris Card says:

    How can you be so cynical to suggest Heikki is only helping the WHO because he doesn’t wish “to be left out in this surge of altruism by drivers”? Very strange comment for you to make and surely you realise projects like this take weeks to plan and wouldn’t occur as a reaction to some other charitable PR events of the past few days?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think you misunderstood – it’s just a figure of speech

      1. Williams4Ever says:

        James,

        I am with Chris on this one, innocent “figure of speech” such as these later picked up by uninformed outsider fans (especially in times where all of us are flies caught in world wide web)leading to maligning of reps of individuals.

        Teflonso phrase comes to mind, I am sure the intention of the said TV Pundit was innocuous, but the partisan fans have started abusing the driver with that phrase and now you can hear even the media outlets use that phrase freely.

        This is merely one example, and I can give many more.

      2. Ahmed says:

        I understood it as a figure of speech – it’s quite obvious actually – particularly as he seems a very decent bloke!

      3. Galapago555 says:

        James, as I read some weeks ago the comment moderation was getting stricter, I thought the use of abusive names as “Teflonso” was banned in your site.

        I’m disappointed to see it’s not.

        I guess THIS comment will not pass moderation…

      4. James Allen says:

        Is Teflonso abusive?

      5. F430-FOX says:

        Martin Brundle said “Teflonso” on air …

      6. Jonathan De Andrade says:

        No James, Teflonso is not abusive, it is anti-abrasive! lol :-)

      7. Lilla My says:

        I agree with Galapago, I’ve always found this nickname abusive :/

      8. Galapago555 says:

        @James Allen
        RE: Is Teflonso abusive?
        ************************

        First of all, thank you very much for your answer / question.

        I have to say that, as you know and it’s easy to notice reading my comments, English is not my mother tongue. So maybe I’m missing some nuance and my appreciation is not correct.

        Teflonso seems abusive to me. Simply because calling someone by a different name that he doesn’t accept is abusive. Lewser is abusive. Jet-Set Button is abusive.

        Teflonso tries to highlight that Fernando, according to Martin Brundle, never accepts his responsibility in any case. A criticism is always legitimate, but a criticism made changing someone’s name is unfair.

        If you google “Teflonso” and read randomly some results, you’ll find out that many people use the word with an abusive intention.

        I suggest that you ask him what he thinks about being called Teflonso, and let us know.

      9. James Allen says:

        I take Teflonso to mean that nothing sticks to him, not that he doesn’t take responsibility. That’s just a humourous assertion as is Jet Set Button. There is nothing implicitly abusive about that term.

        Lewser is closer to the knuckle as it implies that the person in question is a failure, which is more abusive

      10. Galapago555 says:

        @ James Allen

        Maybe we could try and make a survey with just two questions: (i) do you like Fernando Alonso?; (ii) do you think “Teflonso” is an abusive nickname?

        Probably most of the people would answer the same “yeah” or “not” to both questions…

      11. Lilla My says:

        I find Teflonso abusive, because I know that many Alonso haters use it in a negative light, even if they use it to describe that nothing sticks to Alonso. We know that many fanboys like to call Alonso a “cheater”, who always comes clean. In this context, Teflonso (=nth sticks to him) is abusive as it implicates that Alonso is a cheater who manages to escape responsibility for his wicked deeds (in the eyes of the haters). That’s how I see this nickname. Maybe my understanding (which might be of course wrong) is dictated by the fact that in most cases “Teflonso” is used not by Alonso fans, but by his haters, which somehow influences my perception of it.

      12. James Allen says:

        When people describe him or Schumacher or Hamilton or any of the others as a ‘cheat’ we always moderate it out. That is a completely different situation.

      13. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        What is wrong with Teflonso? Was calling Prost the Professor abusive? Was the media implying that Prost was more of an academic than a driver? Get real!

        However, calling Nikki Lauda the Rat could be deemed offensive! But he seems to have made a good living out of it.

        A little bit of humour is needed and the drivers should be afforded some character, especially in the grey corporate atmosophere that exists in some area of the current F1 era.

      14. James Allen says:

        Teflonso does not imply any negative activity, malicious behaviour, nor ill intent. It just implies that things don’t stick to him and that is clearly not abusive

      15. Robert says:

        stick to your guns James, it is a joke name! And not necessarily derogatory, personally i would love to be calle Teflon…

      16. declan says:

        I also think the term “Teflonso” is abusive. To me, it implies he is a slippery character and he doesn’t get apportioned any blame for ‘wrongs’. Pretty much the opposite of the term ‘the mud sticks’.

        I had an ex-boss whom we termed “Mr Teflon” and although it was used as a term of affection, it was equally also meant as a slight as he was known to ‘get away’ with anything.

      17. Unoccv3 says:

        To paraphrase Mark Webber:

        It’s becoming a bit of a nanny state

        As an Australian I haev found that different cultures take comments like that in different ways. Some cultures especially with a basis of english as a 2nd, 3rd or later language tend to simplify it to if you someone calls someone something bad then it is bad. Period.

        And I know some countries are a bit sensitive, and in many a case ethnic minorities are stigmitised by actions and groups that are hypersensitive to issues like this and that is also a factor.

        As an Australian though, many people in our land tend see it in context of the sentence or paragraph.

        For example only calling Vettel as Crash kid is seen as a bit harsh. However, and this is where it gets a bit complicated… If you are talking about Vettel and say his overtaking ability shown last year the referring to him as the crash kid after mentioning his name is fine. ALSO if you refer to him in an affectionite way as the crash kid then it is also OK. (for example saying that he won despite crash kids best efforts)…

        That is a quirk of the langauge as rather than saying despite his best efforts including mainl crashing in silverstone turk balh blah blah you can change his name to crash kid having already siad who it was or implied it to shorten the sentence.

        And then there is even omre to go into it… so it short.

        Teflonso =/ Alonso
        Teflonso as a reference in a statement about Alonso and his situations = GOOD
        Teflonso in a joking or affectionate way = GOOD

      18. Nando says:

        Harmless nickname, nicknames are usually a sign of affection in British culture. If people want to attach negative connotations to it then that’s their problem.

      19. mtb says:

        My understanding is that the ‘Teflon’ label, when applied to a person, is a derogatory term. The first time that I heard it being applied to an individual was when John Gotti was labelled the ‘Teflon Don’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gotti). Whenever I have heard the term being used, it invariably refers to a morally dubious character who always escapes sanction by being able to eliminate all evidence of any personal links to dubious activities.

        I refer to the following definition of Teflon as an adjective, which can be found at http://www.dictionary.com
        “untouched by scandal despite evidence of being involved”

        I wonder what the intention of people who make the Teflonso remark is. The first time that I heard it being used was in Singapore in 2009. One could be forgiven for concluding that the implication was that he was aware of the background of an incident that occurred there in the previous year, but was able to extricate himself from the incident. Whenever people use the ‘Teflonso’ in comments on this site, the tone of the comments is generally negative/critical, which suggests to me that it is intended to be a derogatory remark.

      20. Chris-W says:

        We should all take a moment to consider the frying pans rightly offended by the use of the Teflonso remark.

  3. Jack says:

    And Kobyashi’s app as well, aren’t F1 drivers a top bunch?

  4. Bill Day says:

    Nice story, James.

    Lewis and Jens look really sharp in their suits.

  5. Ralf F says:

    And just as you post this, another article of the like appeared on the official F1 website http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2011/5/12023.html very cool that every driver contributed!

  6. Colin says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t get excited about these good deeds!!!!

    “Follow the money” is the old adage. What do we have here?

    “Webber got all the F1 drivers to sign a Red Bull wishbone and it will be auctioned along with a lot of other cool stuff”

    So basically we have here a group of men whose salaries are in Millions, donating a signature, so that joe public who earns a lot less can actually pay their cash for the benefit of this driver.

    Follow the money – Public pays hard cash, Driver gives a signature. Which of the two can afford the most?

    I am sure that some, maybe even all drivers do more than this, often without publicity, although many rarely do anything without publicity. But let’s not pretend this is something it is not.

    This particular act of “charity” is nothing of the kind, the public are stumping up. Again!!!

    Please note I’m all in favour of the cause, its the publicity I’m against.

    1. MR SERIOUS says:

      + 1

    2. Phil Bishop says:

      Colin I rather think you are missing the point

      Our society, sadly, is obsessed with celebrity and the media latch onto any story with a celeb connection in the hope of increasing readership and revenue. That means you and I have to read papers full of lightweight gossip but on a positive note, charities can take advantage.

      Celeb endorsement allows charities to significantly reduce fundraising costs and this allows many valid organisations to gain public support when they’d struggle otherwise. The F1 drivers are therefore playing an essential role, ensuring the public are aware of, and give to good causes.

      You, I and the rest of Joe Public simply can not influence the press and public to the same extent. Neither do we stand a snowball in hell’s chance of creating an auction for something as desirable as a signed, genuine F1 part.

      Of course we can do our bit. We might run marathons, take part in bike rides or jump out of a plane. We do this and ask friends and family to sponsor us which is just like this auction but lower profile. I don’t think you should be bitter about the difference in scale.

      I’m sorry to be so blunt but by attacking F1 drivers when they are essentially doing something good, you come across as mean spirited and frankly steeped in jealousy.

      It would be far better if we applauded these celeb drivers for acting like responsible role models. This is far, far more palatable than the behaviour of several of their counterparts in other sports we could mention.

      Alongside all of that, Webber is well known for his charity work. If you recall he set up a charity challenge some years ago to raise money for children’s charities. This is no doubt a massive undertaking on his part and one that has been part of his schedule for years. He’s giving up his time and putting in lots of effort to help others and I firmly believe that someone this engaged in helping good causes is most likely a substantial donor of their own hard earned cash.

      1. MR SERIOUS says:

        Actually Sir

        I think it is very individual. You are right about Webber and I mention Schumi further on in these comments, but I once joked to a mate that when Hamilton came on the scene I think his charity helped youngsters get into Karting? Now I believe you have to pay to join Lewis’s website?

        Generally I do not believe F1 guys are sensative to the real world. To me they are 24 guys of who’m most are selfish.

        F1 has the power to be more. Look at the glassing incident with Sutil being covered up but Todt wants drivers to be more responsible on the roads?

        I congratulate Schumi 1st and then Webber and yes I think at least KK is sincere.

        Please talk in an informed balance manner Sir. These are guys who earn very large amounts in 50% of cases and they could be more realistic as to their charitable works.

      2. Unoccv3 says:

        Webber broke bones while doing a charity challenge he set up which, and I’m going out on a pun intended limb here and say that meant he wasn’t up the scratch at the start of 09 (fact) and hence caused friction in RBR as Vettel was faster then whihc paralysed him 2010 when he broke his shoulder and hence lost him the championship (wild speculation)…

        Ergo, Webber donated his champion :)

        But in all seriousness Webber and Schumacher as said above do heaps. Kova I think has done some stuff before as has Massa with his karting race each year. Barichello I think aswell might have done something.

        Torro Rosso had their drivers doing orphanage stuff before china or malaysia this year aswell.

        Oh, and Webber has helped public discourse about roads in Australia ;)

    3. Williams4Ever says:

      Great point Colin, couldn’t have put it in better words.
      6:3 Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.

    4. Chris-W says:

      On the other hand he (and all the rest) might well be making non-publicised donations whilst at the same time signing a bit of kit to add value to it for a charity auction.

      It’s been happening forever – teams signing footballs for garden fete auctions etc. – and there’s no reason to assume that the guys who do it don’t fork out themselves in the background.

    5. Jonathan says:

      Nice comment.

      There is no evidence of these “altruistic” drivers parting with any money — they appear quite happy to let the fans do that bit.

    6. Bill Day says:

      I understand your point, but first you need to know what individual drivers are doing with their money and their fame.

      Yes, autographing an object isn’t much of an effort, and if that’s *all* a particular driver has done, it’s fair to criticize. But we don’t know that from the story.

      No point in hating people for being famous, it’s us who made them that way.

    7. Lilla My says:

      You’re right to some point and I partly agree with you, but as modern society (as Phil said above) is obsessed with celebrities, people are going to follow the famouse. So it’s good that guys like F1 drivers, who are popular draw attention and raise awareness of others in need. Of course it’s easy to say that they have millions and e.g. should be giving money to the poors by themselves instead of making other people to that, but… maybe they are (just not making it public – we can’t know that and not every famous person wants to give money for show), and even if they’re not – it’s still great when they try to attract people’s attention and show that there are people in need.

      1. Lilla My says:

        *making other people do that,

    8. Stephen says:

      another +1

    9. Jo Torrent says:

      There is an argument for and against what you said Colin as well as the others. I think that the most important thing is the result.

      The fame is there so why not use it for a good purpose ? Does the driver believe in the cause he defends or is it a PR operation to enhance his image and to make him win more money through adds. The most important thing is the result. If the cause gains money and more importantly recognition, it’s worth it.

      If you consider the morality of the people supporting causes when deciding to help, you won’t help any cause I guess.

      As 4 the drivers, they are the most selfish human beings and the fact that they choose to leave their country (saving tax money) to afford a bigger castle or a little island. The same drivers moan when their country can’t help raise funds to help their national GP being organised.

      Hamilton left the country which gave him the tools to be the driver he has become. The quality of the BBC coverage is obtained thanks to those taxes Hamilton & co don’t help pay. He left UK around the same time he started selling his book, a book he not only hasn’t written but hasn’t read altogether. The nicest chapter is the one about kindergarden some say.

      The same Hamilton who drifts the wheels on public roads is there to help the Road Safety. His PR guys prepared the answer for the obvious question and everybody was happy. Hamilton doesn’t give a s*$à about road safety nor does Button. They had to do it so they did it.

      Should we support their actions which bear no conviction IMO. I stress once more that if it helps to save even a single life on the road, then yes we should. RESULTS ARE WHAT MATTERS

      Finally, If I were Hamilton and Button and had the fame, the money and those girls would I care about the world misery. Probably not, I don’t think I’m better than them and I don’t think that many of us are better than them.

      1. Alex W says:

        Webber moved to a country that Taxes him harder than his homeland so not all drivers a $$$$ driven. As for the other drivers that evade tax such as Hamilton Button Schumacher Vettel etc… you would hope that they make private contributions but it’s not really our business!

      2. mtb says:

        Which country are you referring to that taxes higher than his homeland?

      3. Alex W says:

        The UK is where he lives, it has higher income tax than Australia, and the VAT is double that of Australia. Webber is the only top driver that pays while Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Button etc live in tax havens.

  7. Brent McMaster says:

    While mentioning charitable work you have missed Kobayashi. He is deperately trying to get the world to keep the massive disaster in Japan on our collective minds.

  8. James D says:

    Kamui Kobayashi has also been doing something. He’s organised an app to raise funds for Japan.

    http://www.autosport.com/news/grapevine.php/id/91332

    1. Henry says:

      I was just about to post the same comment! That is a very worthy cause – as with all large scale disasters, the fear is that although the immediate funding for rescue efforts etc is huge, it then dies away despite needing years of investment to repair the damage. Just look at Haiti. anyway, lets hope it works. As I dont have a smartphone I can’t download the app though, which is a shame!

  9. Quick Nick Rules says:

    Hi James, it looks like another F1 driver will soon be making a rather large donation – seems d’Ambrosio is about to get the axe at Virgin and who’s that waiting in the wings with a large chequebook? Why Sakon Yamamoto of course!
    A real shame for the Belgian, he’s shown far more in 4 races than Di Grassi did over the whole of the last season. If he manages to find some cash to see out the season and continues to perform well, I could see him being promoted to a Sauber/Toro Rosso level next year, he’s been really strong so far. What’s your opinion on Glock? Is his Frontline F1 career effectively over? How he must rue turning down that Renault seat in late ’09 – he could be their number 1 right now stepping up in Kubica’s absence

  10. D. says:

    Kudos to all the drivers for doing this !

  11. Scudderite says:

    Interesting, typical and depressing how Hamilton was questioned about his record on the road, when Button has also been caught speeding in Britain and abroad, and yet no-one asks him about that. Biased much?

    1. James Allen says:

      No he was asked too, but Hamilton answered the question for both of them

      1. Scudderite says:

        Oh I see, thanks.

      2. Malcolm says:

        James, it’s interesting that you didn’t include Jenson in your article

      3. Andy C says:

        He’s the guy on the right of David Cameron ;-)

  12. MR SERIOUS says:

    Michael Schumacher however is the exception I should have remembered. He gave $10m to the Tsunami victims and is very good to animal charities as far as I am aware.

    1. Sam says:

      Yeah something very few haters aware of. But I think, in general, all the f1 drivers are nice, including Alonso. They are only selfish on the track which they should be

  13. Humbucker says:

    I think it is ironic these guys make millions a year (so dozens of millions in their career) and the only thing they can offer for a good deed is a car’s signed wishbone to be auctioned for a few hundred bucks.

    Webber has enough money to write 1 check in 10 seconds to cover all the costs fo the treatment of the guy he allegedly cares for.

    1. Steve says:

      So basically, any rich person who donates money to charity are just doing it to look good and not because they care…that’s what you’re saying is it?

      A car’s wishbone, a couple of hundred bucks – yeah right – try $10,600 – perhaps you should make a bid!!

    2. Chris-W says:

      Maybe he already has? Maybe he’s trying to raise awareness and further funds for the charities involved over and above the cost of the treatment the bloke needs?

    3. Blade Runner says:

      Fair point but they cant just start giving big cheques to everybody that is worthy. Don’t matter how rich they are, if they did that they would soon be wiped out hence the encouragement for us all to contribute.

    4. dufus2 says:

      When was the last time you donated your time and money to a charity ?
      Mark does a lot. Hear of the Mark Webber Challenge ?
      http://www.markwebbertasmaniachallenge.com/

    5. Jeff says:

      (I donate 2% of our income to foreign aid annually) says a sign on my head.

      Geez, do they need to walk around with a bloody sign on their head saying how much they donated to charity. By using the same logic I could accuse you of being mean with your donations because I have as much knowledge of your activities as you do of Mark Webber’s.

    6. Nathan says:

      i wonder how many replies to this comment didn’t pass moderation?

    7. Humbucker says:

      I was stating the fact that he could write 1 check in 10 seconds, literally, to cover all the expenses for his treatment.

      That is a fact. Why get offended by stating that fact?

      The reason he does it this way is because of PR purposes. It gives him positive publicity.

      No one says he is obligated to pay for the treatment out of his own pocket, but doing it this way is ironic and in my view, cheap and the opposite of sincere.

      “Hey look at me being a charitable guy, I am awesome!”.

  14. Rich C says:

    First let me say I think this is all very admirable, and I wish them great success.

    Secondly let me say that, sadly, most of it is wasted effort.

    These responses to natural disasters are drowned in the sheer magnitude of the event and hardly make a dent.

    A campaign for funds for an individual can certainly help, however. But the question arises as to where you draw the line. One cannot save everyone worthy of it.

    And then theres Road Safety. A totally losing proposition. Since the dawn of time I would bet the leading cause of death of teenagers has been “doing something stupid.” Thats not going to change.

    Its a gigantic, world-wide societal problem that a couple dozen affluent “white boys” are *not going to affect.

    Educating teenagers about this does not work. It is well-established that their brains are not fully developed until their mid-20′s with particular respect to decision-making. The only “education” that *sometimes works on them is when a close friend at school gets killed in a crash, which of course is exactly what we *don’t want.

    It’s their *parents that need educating! “How to stop junior from killing himself doing something stupid in a car” is something every parent should be taught.

    And in the 3rd & 4th world countries I wouldn’t even know where to start. When you grow up riding on the back of your parents’ camel or donkey you simply have NO concept of how a moving ton of steel and glass actually works. Your brain has not internalized the ‘normal’ behavior of the thing. Trial and error is your only guide. Good luck with that.

    That doesn’t include all the deficiencies in infrastructure either: good roads, good laws well-enforced, etc etc.

    And the newly-rich will always be with us, doing stupid stuff in a high-powered car. There is no cure.

    You can only hope they don’t kill someone else that might have been the next Einstein.

    1. Clinton says:

      This statement might not have been intended to insult, but is highly offensive to us folk from “3rd & 4th world countries” who aparently grew up “riding on the back of [our] parents’ camel or donkey” and whose brains has not “internalized the ‘normal’ behavior of the thing”.

  15. Warsaw_voice says:

    It’s good to hear that F1 drivers join this FIA-backed campaign for road safety. I think that – especially if R. Kubica takes part in it, when he is finally well – this might have some positive influence on Polish drivers. The toll of road accidents in Poland is appalling – about 4,5 thousand people die in car crashes every year (for 38 milions of inhabitants), that is some 13 people a day.

  16. Dave says:

    I really don’t understand the negative comments above regarding the actions of certain drivers to assist where they can. There is no doubt in my mind that if Webber had come out and said “We are auctioning off a signed RB3 Wishbone and I personally have donated $100,000″ – this page would be filled of people attacking him, claiming that he was using the case to promote his own image. I have no doubt in my mind that Webber would be donating above and beyond what is reported here.

    Doing something is almost always better than doing nothing.

    James’ post does not mention that the majority of V8 Supercar Drivers do not earn a cent from their respective teams and must source sponsorship externally. Indeed less than a dozen Australians world wide draw a salary from the sport.

  17. InnocentBystander says:

    Why do some of you need to be so cynical?!

    To suggest the drivers are doing these things as a selfish marketing ploy is disgraceful. Wake up to yourselves.

    Many of these drivers have done a lot of work for charity and you can be sure they themselves have made serious cash donations to whichever causes they value. But they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If, say, Mark Webber came out and said he’s donated half a million to Jason Richards you lot would probably accuse him of grandstanding. It’s generally considered poor form for the wealthy to disclose the value of their charitable donations as they are obviously in a much different financial position than Joe Public.

    Besides, anyone who thinks an F1 driver’s value to a cause is limited to their personal donation is a fool. For example, how many of you who live outside of Australia have heard of Jason Richards? Well you have now. Celebrities such as F1 drivers add significant value to a cause by publicly supporting fundraising efforts and gaining much needed media exposure which, if it had to be paid for, would cost staggering amounts of money.

    Not everything in life has to be about “what’s in it for me?”. If you’re so cynical about the character of these drivers why do you support them by watching F1?

  18. Johnny B says:

    It is great that the drivers have jumped on board with these causes. However, it does disappoint me that for so long Formula 1 teams and drivers were (and still are) sponsored by tobacco companies, yet nothing has ever been done by F1 to educate the public on the dangers of smoking (5+ million people die from smoking related illnesses globally each year, whereas there are around 1.3 million motor vehicle related deaths annually). I wonder how many F1 fans have taken up smoking because their favourite team or driver is/was sponsored by a tobacco brand?
    There has been a very strong association between F1 and tobacco for 40+ years, which unfortunately continues to the present day, yet it seems that the FIA and F1 is willing to turn a blind eye to this huge public health issue that they have directly contributed to…

  19. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Why doesn’t Webber auction off Reb Bull’s front wing to the other teams? That should raise a fair bit.

    1. dufus2 says:

      Or better still auction off Adrian Newey !

      1. James Allen says:

        What a fantastic idea. Every five years!!

      2. Andy C says:

        Like an american football franchise…

        You do wonder sometimes, whether the base spec cars that come out in testing are just so that everyone sees what Newey and his guys do then bolt on the appropriate bits to their car :-)

  20. seifenkistler says:

    Schumacher
    If i recall it right Schumi gave 7.5 million euros of his own money in 2005 to the Tsunami victims.
    The family of one of his personal staff was among the victims.

    2002 at the Elbe-river flooding in germany it were 2 millions…
    Million for Unesco

    He said 2005 that he did the numbers public to have more people spending money. A newspaper wrote something like: no new airplane for Schumi next 3 years. If millions workers do no new hifi-system/TV next 3 years, or a teenager buying one music CD less a year and spending the money: it should be a big amount of money. And in a relation a similiar money cut.

    So before 2005 not saying the numbers, but in 2005 he was: seems both ways have their arguments.

  21. Andy C says:

    I did see Jenson and Lewis on the flatscreen in our office reception between meetings this week and wondered what it was about.

    I thought perhaps David had asked for a quick getaway driver for Nick Clegg.

    On a serious note, there are lots of drivers who do great work for charities both in the sport and out of it.

    I’ve never been one to resent the wealth and material items that these guys accumulate. Good luck to them I say. You have to appreciate with these guys that they get paid an absolute fortune, and how can you expect them to be completely normal.

    The fact that they support these good causes is proof positive that actually they are just normal guys made good.

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