Todt: Impossible to ban alcohol sponsorship in F1

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FIA president Jean Todt believes that it would be impossible to ban alcohol sponsorship in Formula 1 after facing calls for a revision of the sport’s policy on the exposure of associated brands.

A report by the European Alcohol Policy Alliance published last week revealed that fans watching F1 were exposed to an alcohol brand at an average of every five seconds, and called for a clampdown on sponsorship.

Speaking at the International Transport Forum in Germany, Todt explained how a widespread ban of alcohol sponsorship would not be possible in F1, and that although the sport does hold a strict anti-drink-drive policy, it was up to individual nations to take a stand.

“The use of advertising for alcohol is not linked to the FIA, it is linked to each singular country,” Todt said.

“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, but you can educate people not to drink and drive. So we are working very closely on that because we know it is an essential topic to be addressed.”

Alcohol brands have become rife in F1 following the ban on tobacco sponsorship back in 2008, with the likes of Smirnoff, Kingfisher, Martini and Johnnie Walker all enjoying considerable exposure.

Some countries do enforce strict policies for their grands prix, though, prompting the teams to remove their alcohol sponsorship for events in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

Both the FIA and Formula One Management do promote road safety and anti-drink-drive policies in the paddock and in their broadcasts, whilst F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone personally acts as the face of a “Bernie says ‘think before you drive'” campaign.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.