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.