There’s a very interesting snippet in Le Parisien newspaper today in France, where FIA president Jean Todt says that F1 drivers who get into trouble on the roads, as Lewis Hamilton did in Australia this year, could face sanctions on the race track.
Todt is putting the “Make Roads Safe” campaign the cornerstone of his presidency, with the mission of saving five million lives on the roads during a decade of action.
High profile incidents like Hamilton’s “Hooning” charge, for which he is being tried in August, are embarrassing for Todt, who sees the world’s most famous drivers as vital role models for his campaign. Hamilton has been charged with deliberately losing control of a vehicle, for an incident where he did burn-outs as he left the circuit one night.
“There is an incompatibility between the status of a role model champion, and a possible infringement on the road, ” says Todt. “A driver is a driver like the others. We are therefore trying to see whether to do something, and how.
Last year 1.3 million people died on the roads, the majority in the developing world. Todt wants to use the vast communication platform of F1 to deliver powerful messages about making the roads safe and this is a clear warning to F1 drivers to keep themselves under control.
“The forecasts for 2020 are terrible, and they estimate that nearly two million people will be killed if no action is taken by then, ” adds Todt. “Now, with a minimum of dialogue, that figure could be halved. This requires education, improved road networks, and the involvement of new technology on cars.”