Speeding Hamilton joins Fisichella, Button, Montoya…

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Indianapolis, 2007 | DaimlerLewis 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.

Nelson Piquet

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.

Giancarlo Fisichella

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.”

Juan-Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams, Melbourne, 2001 | BMW MediaSeven 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.”

Eddie Irvine

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…

Jean Alesi

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.”

Jenson Button

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…

  1. 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.

  2. Canada’s Transport Minister John Baird today announced new regulations that make Canada’s testing standards for child car seats unprecedented and world-leading. The regulations are part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to ensure Canadian product safety standards are second to none.

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