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F1 boss will not ban alcohol sponsorship

The president of Formula One has said that a ban on alcohol sponsorship in the sport is “not possible” and that it is the duty of drinks groups to promote responsible consumption.

Jean Todt, president of Formula One’s governing body FIA, said a ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship in the sport would not be implemented

Speaking at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany, Jean Todt, president of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), said such advertising practices will continue in F1.

His statement comes days after a new report condemning the “dangerous cocktail” of alcohol advertising and sponsorship in motorsports was published

The paper, compiled by he European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare), the Institute of Alcohol Studies, and Monash University, analysed the extent of alcohol advertising during the 2014 Formula One Monaco Grand Prix.

Researchers found that 500 million viewers were exposed to alcohol brands every five seconds, with an average of 11 reference to alcohol per every minute.

“The amount of alcohol related exposure in F1 settings is extreme by anyone’s standards,” said Mariann Skar, secretary general of Eurocare.

“There seems to be a lack of recognition within the F1 community about their responsibility when showing alcohol adverts every five seconds to an audience of 500 million viewers. We now urge the involved bodies in F1 to move away from alcohol sponsorship”.

Eurocare had previously written an open letter to Todt, asking him to ban alcohol advertising and sponsorship in F1 due to its creation of a “troubling” association between drinking and driving.

However, Todt recently told ABC: “The use of advertising for alcohol is not linked to the FIA. It’s linked to each singular country.

“I’m completely against and advocating against drinking and driving, but each country needs to make his own job. You cannot ban alcohol – it is not possible. You can educate people not to drink and drive.

“And what I’m urging alcohol companies to do is to participate in funding to educate people and discourage people driving when they are drinking.”

Todt added that FIA is “working closely” with drinks groups on promoting responsible drinking.

Leading brands that sponsor F1 teams include Martini, Jose Cuervo Tequila, Smirnoff Vodka and Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky.

Drinks groups have previously hit out at suggestions their sponsorship deals are irresponsible, claiming such partnerships provide a “credible platform” to promote responsible drinking.

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