F1 drivers’ road manners under scrutiny

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F1 drivers could lose their competition Super Licenses if they are involved in incidents on the road under new proposals from the FIA.

The World Motor Sport Council urged drivers to act as “ambassadors for the sport” in a statement released today:

The FIA, both in its motor sport and mobility roles, has a strong interest in promoting road safety. Competitors at FIA events must act as ambassadors for the sport, be aware their conduct on the road must be exemplary and respect road safety rules.

A proposal to amend the international sporting code will be submitted to the FIA General Assembly to clarify that any holder of an International Super Licence must also be in possession of a current road driving licence.

Additionally, the Code will be amended to clarify that if an International Super Licence holder is involved in a serious road traffic offence recognised by a national police authority, the FIA, depending on the severity of the case, may issue a warning or refer the matter to the International Disciplinary Tribunal, which may temporarily or indefinitely withdraw the competitor’s International Super Licence.

In March Lewis Hamilton was charged with irresponsible driving by the police in Melbourne during the weekend of the Australian Grand Prix.

The FIA has also formed a new working group to promote its Decade of Action for Road Safety.

Read more: A bad weekend gets worse for Hamilton

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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42 comments on “F1 drivers’ road manners under scrutiny”

  1. Most productive WMSC meeting ever?

    1. So true, they’ll probably go have dinner instead of deciding what to do about the Ferrari incident.

      1. Nah, that’s just for discussion with the cognac afterwards.

        1. Or while dining on a nice plate of pasta?

          1. On a nice Ferrari plate.

  2. Knee-jerk reaction and gimmick. Hamilton was fined about $300 or something, after all.

    But say we do see a serious offence on the road. We still won’t even see Vettel lose his licence for what he does on the track!

    1. Hmm, Vettel has crashed into people twice this year, so maybe you have a point.

    2. Hahaha! poor Vettel!

      This almost seems like a token gesture.

  3. I’ve probably paid more fines for speeding in the past 5 years than Hamilton or any other notorious F1 hoon, and I am no speed demon; I just fail to take note of where the speed cameras are.

    How about mace-ing taxi-driver after hitting him in a road acccident? That guy ended up the grid again, after a jail term. I believe that should be the standard for losing your license.

    1. Wasn’t that Bertrand Gachot?

      I seem to remember the guy who replaced him in his Jordan seat went on to do quite well. German chap, Michael something. :D

  4. It’s not the driving on the roads they should be worried about,it’s the hairbrained antics of Vettel and Schumacher that they should be concerned with!

  5. Oh come on! Because a driver spins his wheels he could lose his race license?

    1. (spins his wheels on a public road)

      1. And it sets a minimum age for any guy wanting to get a super licence. Up to now in most countries you cannot actually get your drivers license before turning 18 years. Where would that leave Vettel and Alguersuari at the start of their F3 and higher levels?

        1. I thought you only needed a Superlicense for F1..??

        2. In the UK you can get a full road licence at 17, but young drivers can get a racing licence from 16. They’re required to pass the ARDS test and then promptly obtain a full road licence once they’re eligible to do so at 17.

    2. Mark Hitchcock
      8th September 2010, 15:39

      Clearly not. It says “serious” road traffic offence. What Hamilton did was stupid, against the law and right to be punished. But obviously not something that would be punished by taking away his super license.
      I’m sure that would be reserved for something much more serious like drink driving, or maybe repeatedly driving way over speed limits or something.

      1. Yeah I guess that’s true. Depends on their interpretation of “serious” then though.

        The Australian government of that particular area obviously though that Hamilton’s offence was “serious”. They impounded the car for 48 days an gave a big fine. In the Netherlands I doubt he’d even have gotten a fine for the same thing.

    3. No, they said serious road traffic offences.

      1. Wait everyone said that already :D

  6. All you company CEO’s and managers will lose your jobs, if u…
    1. Don’t buy your wife flowers
    2. Remember her Birthday and wedding anniversary
    3. Your kids don’t make it to college….

    FIA is bored!!

    1. Charles Carroll
      8th September 2010, 15:51

      I would fire you if you failed to accomplish #1 and #2 on your list.

  7. Seems a bit of a weird one. Surely they should make it apply to reck specific offences – I’m thinking drink driving and death by dangerous driving. Half the paddock would be banned if they got suspened everytime they were done doing 100mph+ through France!

    1. Well actually that would be a VERY good reason to extend it from super licenses to the staff licenses that are to be introduced!

      1. LOL, interesting idea!

  8. In the UK I think a full road licence is a requirement for holding a racing licence at any level, so a serious road traffic offence or too many fixed penalty speeding offences would automatically cost you your racing licence too.

    It’s a reasonable enough proposal from the WMSC – after all, why should anyone not judged competent to drive on the public highway be put in charge of a high powered racing car?

    But I’m slightly surprised a full road licence wasn’t needed to hold a superlicence before now.

    1. Exactly because they race on a race track. No 2 way lanes, road crossings, no pedestrians nor cyclists (well in most cases) to avoid etc.

      It is a much more controlled and safe environment when compared to the public roads.

      Are you sure about that requirement for racing licences, what about all those 14-17 yearolds racing in lower categories (F3, Formula Renault/BMW, Audi Palmer, …), how do they race without a road licence?

      1. They arent super licences. Super licences are needed if you wanted to race in F1 Grands Prix only. Those in Formulae like GP2 and lower, including Indycar are NOT affected by this.

  9. That’s good too. The boys can do anything on the track but they should act like men on public road.

  10. This has come about because Jean visited a WRC event this year and saw that all the top drivers there already support road safety campaigns………

    1. apart from when they drive between stages with missing wheels and diffs hanging off and bits of suspension gouging trenches in public highways…

  11. Drive like Michael and try to eliminate the competition in any way possible……….. R & R

  12. THEY are proposing that…

    “A proposal to amend the international sporting code will be submitted to the FIA General Assembly to clarify that any holder of an International Super Licence must also be in possession of a current road driving licence”.

    just wondering which countries driving licences will apply to be considered valid in this case.?

    THE fact that one has an international super licence should negate the need foe further restrictions in the first place

  13. I don’t think this is at all to target Lewis hamilton as “depending on the severity of the case” says to me that he’d probably be let off to some extent as it really wasn’t that serious but if this has came about because of him then that isn’t a bad thing either.

    I do think this is a good idea. I’m all for people having fun but there always has to be responsibility and F1 driver’s do have a lot of people looking up to them (which is perhaps unfair but it is the case). It also gives some more importance to the ‘make roads safe’ campaign and is about more than just words.

    1. I’m pretty sure they started floating this idea just after Hamilton got arrested in Melbourne.

      1. Yeah but I doubt it was to persecute Lewis but just brought attention to the issue of what to do when drivers get into trouble on public roads.

  14. I seem to recall that in the early 2000s Ralf Schumacher lost his Austrian driver’s license and that around the same time or perhaps later Jenson Button was caught doing some ridiculous speed in a BMW on the M-something or other. Why didn’t they come out with this proposal then? They can’t seriously be doing this because Hamilton was doing burn-outs? Seems like there’s doing these initiatives now just to try and take heat off their weak Ferrari decision.

  15. This is ludicrous. Where’s it end – limiting girlfriends?

    Focus on the business and you might have a half-decent sport, but until then, you haven’t.


  16. Where did the time go when drivers had to drive and F1 car around a track as fast as they could. Now they have to do that, be a marketing device for the team they drive for and be good boys to make the FIA look good. Please give us another hunt or raikkonen…

  17. 1/ create rules 2/ police rules 3/ enforce rules

  18. Ahh.. remember the good old days when Gilles’ wife would take cover in the floor of the backseat as Gilles circumvented all traffic at any cost and Ayrton would make a 3 hour car trip in little over an hour so as not to miss Gulgemin’s race after finishing his own. Ayrton racing the original Stig Perry McCarty in a loaner car just for fun across the English countryside after his own car died and Perry stopped to help. Good times.

  19. BTW: My point referred only to the track. If ANYONE needs prosecuting for bringing motorsport into disrepute for repeatedly breaking any rules, I give you; Mr Jean ‘never knowingly abiding’ Todt.

    Nuff said me thinks.

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