Alcohol companies and motor sports

 

Sir, – In light of the recent statistics issued by the Road Safety Authority that found that alcohol was a factor in almost 40 per cent of fatal road incidents, it is truly shocking to see Formula 1 agreed a five-year new sponsorship deal with Heineken.

The F1 deal with Heineken, estimated to be worth €133 million, places this alcohol company as one of the main sponsors of the sport, with both trackside billboards and also sponsorship of teams in F1. Alcohol brands are now dominating sponsorship in F1, linking popular motor sport to one of the major killers on our roads, drink-driving.

A report on alcohol brand exposure during the F1 Monaco Grand Prix last year showed there were on average 11 references to alcohol brands per minute, averaging one every five seconds. The Monaco Grand Prix has a worldwide audience of around 500 million people, and with the new deal in addition to the previous sponsorship agreement, F1 is close to becoming more an event for granting the global exposure of alcohol brands than a sporting event.

Between 2008 and 2012, 1,077 lives were lost in in 983 fatal collisions in Ireland alone. Surely Formula 1 has a responsibility to break the link between drinking and driving? – Yours, etc,

Prof FRANK MURRAY,

Chairman,

Alcohol Health

Alliance Ireland,

President,

Royal College of Physicians

of Ireland,

Frederick House,

South Frederick Street,

Dublin 2.