All 22 Formula 1 drivers came together on the grid ahead of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix to support the United Nations’ Global Road Safety Week, which aims to draw attention to the need to protect pedestrians on the world’s roads.
More than 5,000 pedestrians are killed on roads across the world every week, according to the World Health Organisation. These fatalities make up a large percentage of the 1.3m killed on the roads every year.
The aim of the campaign is to give pedestrians a voice when traffic safety is concerned so the UN launched “Long, Short Walk”, an initiative that encourages people across the world to video or photograph their favourite walks.
The images and footage will be edited together to raise awareness that those in cars are not the only road users.
So ahead of the drivers’ parade at the Spanish Grand Prix, the likes of F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, FIA president Jean Todt, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, were joined by 200 school children for a short walk down the start-finish straight.
Spaniard Maria de Villota, who suffered a severe head injury and lost her right eye in an accident when testing a Marussia F1 car last year, was also in attendance, along with a number of team principals.
Todt said: “It is fitting that the world’s finest drivers and the teams and organisations behind them have come together to demonstrate that all road users, no matter whether they are at the wheel or on foot, should be protected and that every driver must be vigilant at all times, no matter how skilled.
“It is crucial that we protect pedestrians and the FIA is delighted that Formula 1 has embraced this initiative to help save lives in such a positive way.
“It once again demonstrated how motorsport can help draw attention to such a globally important issue. This fusion of sport and mobility to improve road safety is at the core of the FIA’s beliefs.”