Lewis Hamilton has had some unwanted negative publicity after being caught speeding in France.
Although I can’t condone speeding, nor can I say ‘I’m holier than thou’ – I picked up a ticket of my own this year. Ironically enough I was returning from the Goodwood Festival of Speed at the time…
Hamilton is not alone – thousands of British motorists are ticketed for speeding every week. And F1 drivers from Jenson Button to Jean Alesi have had their collars felt by the long arm of the law. But some of them took it rather more seriously than others.
Three-times Formula 1 world champion Nelson Piquet was disqualified from driving in June this year for various offences including speeding and parking violations.
His wife Viviane also lost her licence and the pair had to attend classes and sit an exam to get their licenses back. Meanwhile Nelson Piquet Jnr will make his F1 debut for Renault in 2008.
The former Renault driver had his licence taken away after he broke the speed limit in Italy in 2005. Fisichella later said he was in a hurry to return home to his unwell son.
He said: “I understand that even in these situations you must always avoid going too fast and respect the speed limits. I’m aware of having made a mistake so I apologize and I’m ready to pay for it. My commitments towards road safety remain strong.”
Seven times Grand Prix winner Montoya was caught doing 200kph in France in 2003. He was less repentant than Fisichella, saying: “Who doesn’t go at 200 clicks on those motorways? I tell you, that car does 240kph no problem. I was taking it easy.”
The gendarme issued an on the spot fine which Montoya paid in cash right away with wife-to-be Connie at the wheel: “Connie and I had been chatting and she told me to go steady because there might be police about so I was only doing 200km/h. Anyway, after I paid the policeman, I just handed over to Connie and told her to drive.”
Irvine was arrested for allegedly speeding on a scooter in London, without insurance.
He failed to turn up in court and a warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest, and three years later the police were still looking for him…
Alesi retired from Formula 1 in 2001 and two years later was (like Hamilton and Montoya) caught speeding in France.
Alesi said: “I assume full responsibility and acknowledge my mistake. You learn from your mistakes and I will try to behave better than this in the future.”
Button was caught speeding during his debut season in 2000, also in France. He clocked 230kph in a diesel-powered BMW – being 20 years old at the time he was only allowed to drive diesel cars in Europe.
Photos: Daimler | BMW Media
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22 comments on “Speeding Hamilton joins Fisichella, Button, Montoya…”
19th December 2007, 21:27
Interesting that they have almost all been caught out in France! And people think it’s bad in the UK! But seriously, what is it? Do people mistakenly think it’s autobahn rules in France?
19th December 2007, 21:57
Didn’t Senna get done for speeding here in the UK as well?
19th December 2007, 22:13
It is ad that a pro driver get a ticket :S, it is like a football player ejected in a exibition match… I think that F1A would penalize drivers who get tickets! Just remove the ‘superlicense’ from them for a race (and ban for a season if they are caught driving drunk)!
Speeding put in danger not only the driver life, but other people around him!
19th December 2007, 22:21
Senna got caught doing 125mph on the M25. Frankly, given the usual state of the M25, that deserves a medal, not a driving ban, but hey. It was reported at the time that the policeman who stopped him said “Who do you think you are? Nigel Mansell?”
But what on earth is this about under 21s only being allowed to drive diesels on the continent. Doesn’t sound at all plausible.
19th December 2007, 22:31
It’s Europe, anything is plausible. In Europe you’re not allowed to call yoghurt yoghurt, you have to call it some fermented-milk thing. That’s not relevant to F1 but I thought it was interesting.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
19th December 2007, 23:20
Thanks Vertigo, I think that is by a wide margin the oddest thing I’ve read on my own website! Incidentally I live in Europe and had a delicious yoghurt for lunch…
I’d heard about the Senna one but I couldn’t find a decent source on it (admittedly I only had a fairly cursory look) and I’ve heard the “Who do you think you are? Driver X?” story with various different names substituted…
I think the under 21s thing might be insurance related. Here’s the link to the original story on that one:
Autosport – Button fined for speeding on motorway (external)
20th December 2007, 1:36
There’s even a story I read on F1 Racing that John Button, Jenson’s dad, was saying around that time that their speeding actually promoted the diesel-powered BMW Jenson was driving. After all, who knew they could go so quick? :p
20th December 2007, 2:58
Prost got caught in France a few years ago. The cop asked him if he thought he was Alain Prost.
He was found guilty but received no punishment because of his extraordinary driving ability. And not because he was French.
20th December 2007, 9:45
how bout schumacher?
20th December 2007, 10:02
“how bout schumacher?”
He didn’t get caught. ;)
20th December 2007, 10:53
they like speeding in france dont they :D
my girlfriend got a bloody speeding fine this year! well gutted, but at lease she didn’t get a £400 fine.
20th December 2007, 20:13
I remember that mike hawthorn was killed racing a jag on the m1? – and shortly after that a cobra on test was reputed to have done 150+ – that’s when limits began to be applied to motorways here – then the fuel crisis of the 70’s introduce a 70mph tempary limit which despite improvements in brakes especially in todays cars has never been lifted.
20th December 2007, 21:48
If I’m not mistaken Kimi got pulled over for speeding in Finland a few years ago. In Finland you get fined in relation to your income so I bet even Kimi’s wallet was hurting a bit there. :)
20th December 2007, 22:10
That sends out the wrong signals to young drivers!
The fact that they are professional drivers, should make them role models for their fans.
During Rally Ireland, the message promoted was ‘Keep racing in its place’ Too many people are being killed because of speed on our roads.
20th December 2007, 22:12
I agree with Salva by the way!
It is a serious issue in most countries, and stories like this making headline news does nothing to help those who try and reduce the number of deaths
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
20th December 2007, 22:15
Does it? He was caught, he got a big fine and had his licence confiscated, that’s hardly positive. The message here is ‘if you get caught speeding you’re in trouble’.
23rd December 2007, 21:30
Thats not the point—-alot of young people will think it cool that someone like LH was doing that speed on the open road, and try to mimic it, the FIA and ALL drivers in motorsport should be raising awareness that speed kills……and that there is a time and place for using speed, not on the open road!
24th December 2007, 6:45
Is there not a phrase on tickets and programs mentioning that motorsport is a dangerous sport I think it was some kind of attempt to get out of paying any damages if there was an accident to spectators more than the drivers though??
26th December 2007, 15:46
Words from “KB” : #14 above “Too many people are being killed because of speed on our roads.” and #17 “speed kills”.
WOW! What is “speed”, it sounds like ice or loose sand on our roads and it can KILL! Thanks for the warning. AW chucks, I’m only jesting but “speed” is not the problem, the Autobaun has no limits in certain areas and has one of the lowest incidents per mile of any road on earth. In most cases “speeding” is a political tool to collect revenue, in other cases its a warning to good fast drivers they are intergrating with slow drivers
and high density obstecles.
I’ve been lucky….here in the USA….speeding can be contested in court and I ALWAYS go to court, 4 of 5 times the police don’t show and the case is dismissed !!!!!!
26th December 2007, 15:56
Hey Keith ….. I’m actually reading your advertisers adverts, and there are two: VirginiaTrafficAttorney.com and
http://www.DWIFairfaxLawyer.com local to me (Virginia USA) advertising on a U.K. website!
Good work, mate!
Alianora La Canta
26th December 2007, 16:17
The big ones for causing road accidents are inattention and lack of anticipation. These get more difficult at speed, but some people can do them. The trouble is that nobody’s figured out a way to quantify the amount of attention and anticipation a driver is applying at any given moment. If someone could do that, a more effective regime could be implemented very quickly.
There is some sense in regulating speed, though, because although it does not cause accidents in itself, it does affect how bad the accident will be when it happens. Autobahns have such low accident rates because nearly everyone obeys an unwritten code of conduct that allows them to know what will happen. The high speeds are so high and so unusual that those unfamiliar with this code will inevitably pay a LOT of attention, simply to avoid the easily-foreseeable crashes. When autobahn accidents happen, they tend to be serious.
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4th June 2010, 11:11
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