Streiff apologizes to FIA after legal threat

Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:17pm EST
 
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PARIS (Reuters) - Former Formula One driver Philippe Streiff has apologized to FIA president Jean Todt and medical head Gerard Saillant for comments he made about the investigation into Jules Bianchi's Japanese Grand Prix accident.

Todt and Saillant had threatened legal action on Thursday for defamation.

"I let myself get carried away in front of the camera," Streiff said in a statement issued through the International Automobile Federation (FIA) in which he retracted the 'unfounded' accusations.

"The interview took a long time, too long, and I am aware that I made insulting and defamatory comments about Jean Todt, Gerard Saillant and the FIA which I sincerely regret.

"I ask Jean Todt and Gerard Saillant, who are well aware of my health problems, to excuse me," he added. "I regret having said things about them that are totally out of line with the consideration they both deserve."

Streiff has been wheelchair-bound since a 1989 Formula One testing accident in Brazil.

Bianchi, managed by Todt's son Nicolas, suffered severe brain injuries when his Marussia skidded into a recovery tractor in fading light in the October race at a wet Suzuka circuit.

He is now in hospital in the south of France.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Tony Jimenez)

 
Former French racing driver Philippe Streiff speaks to journalists as he leaves the CHU hospital emergency unit in Grenoble, French Alps, where seven-times former Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is hospitalized January 3, 2014. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot