Heineken F1 deal triggers new call for alcohol ban

Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:34pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Dutch brewer Heineken's sponsorship deal with Formula One, announced last week, has led to renewed calls from European campaigners for a ban on alcohol sponsorship in the sport.

European Alcohol Policy Alliance network Eurocare, which groups public health and non-governmental organizations, said on Tuesday it wanted stronger legislation from the European Commission and member states.

France, a country without a Formula One grand prix, already bans alcohol sponsorship of sporting events.

"F1 should ask themselves if they want to be a motorsport or an alcohol brand event," said Eurocare general secretary Mariann Skar in a statement that estimated the Heineken deal to be worth $150 million to F1 over five years.

"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."

Eurocare also published a letter sent to Jean Todt, the president of Formula One's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

Todt, a Frenchman and former Ferrari principal, has made reducing the number of motoring fatalities a cornerstone of his presidency and is a United Nations special envoy for road safety.

"We would like to remind you that drink driving is one of the key killers on the road. It is therefore worrying that F1 is now bringing the link between alcohol brands and motor sport even closer together," the letter said.   Continued...

Formula One - Canadian Grand Prix - Montreal, Quebec, Canada - 12/6/16 - Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain crosses the finish line to win. REUTERS/Paul Chiasson/Pool