A group of anti-alcohol campaigners have attacked the FIA president Jean Todt following the announcement of £150 million deal over four-and-a-half-year deal with Heineken.
The European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare) a group of public health organisations which calls for the prevention and reduction of alcohol-related harm in Europe.
The four-and-a-half-year deal with Heineken has infuriated Eurocare’s secretary general Mariann Skar. She has written a letter to the FIA expressing her strong opposition to F1’s recruitment of alcohol brands.
The FIA plays no part in the commercial deals struck by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone as it is simply the regulatory body.
The letter which has been made public and sent to Ecclestone and the World Health Organisation says that Heineken’s involvement “a major concern because alcohol and driving should not be mixed”,
She added “alcohol brands are now dominating sponsorships in F1, linking a popular motorsport to one of the major killers on our roads, drink driving.” She says that “It is … worrying that F1 is now bringing the link between alcohol brands and motorsport even closer together”
Skar calls on Formula One to move away from alcohol sponsorship like it did in the wake of smoking bans saying “consider moving away from these sponsorship agreements, as you did with tobacco sponsorship. FIA is not without responsibilities, being the governing body of F1 and also being one of the shareholders in the sport.”
The group said last year’s Monaco Grand Prix they found 11 references to alcohol brands per minute, averaging one reference every five seconds.
Skar added “if both the sport and the drinks producers want to be seen as responsible industries, they should stop this deal and move away from alcohol sponsorship in F1.