To: Monsieur Jean Todt

President, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile

8 place de la Concorde


Dear Mr Todt,

Heineken recently launched their new sponsorship agreements with F1, a five year deal estimated to be worth $150m. With this new deal, Heineken will place themselves as one of the main sponsors of the sport, with event name and circuit branding, TV commercials and other promotional activities.

This is a major concern because alcohol and driving should not be mixed. Alcohol brands are now dominating sponsorships in F1, linking a popular motor sport to one of the major killers on our roads, driving under the influence.

Alcohol marketing has a powerful effect on society, in particular on young people. As you very well know, F1 is a sport heavily sponsored by alcohol producers, even before this new deal. A report on alcohol brand exposure during the F1 Monaco Grand Prix last year showed that there were on average 11 references to alcohol brands per minute – averaging one every five seconds. The promotion of alcohol alongside iconic sporting events reinforces and exaggerates pro-alcohol social norms. 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.

We have previously written to you about this concern, and in your response you declare yours and FIA’s commitment to road safety, referring to your work with the ‘Action for Road Safety’ programme, in addition to yourself being a UN Special Envoy for Road Safety. We would like to remind you that driving under the influence 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.

We would like to request that you take this issue seriously and consider moving away from these sponsorship agreements, as you did with tobacco sponsorship. FIA is not without responsibilities, being the governing body of F1 and also being one of the shareholders in the sport.


Mariann Skar

Secretary General

European Alcohol Policy Alliance

Recipients in Copy of the Joint Open Letter

  • Chief Executive Bernard Ecclestone, Formula One
  • Director General Margaret Chan, World Health Organisation
  • Commissioner Violeta Bulc, European Commission Mobility and Transport
  • Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commission Health and Food Safety
  • Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, European Commission Digital Agenda
  • Head of Unit Vladimir B Poznyak, World Health Organisation
  • Director General Henrik Hololei, European Commission DG Move
  • Director General Xavier Prats Monne, European Commission DG Sante
  • Director General Roberto Viola, European Commission DG Connect

We would like to repeat our call for an ending of alcohol sponsorship of F1, supported by:

Joint Open Letter Signatories

International Organisations

Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA)

International Federation of the Blue Cross

IOGT International

European Umbrella Organisations

Active -Sobriety, Friendship and Peace

Alcohol Policy Youth Network

European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)

European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing (EUCAM)

European mutual help network for alcohol related problems (EMNA)

Nordic Alcohol and Drug Policy Network (NordAN)

Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME)

United States

U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance


The Southern Africa Alcohol Policy Alliance


Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education

McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol


Vereniging voor Alcohol-en Andere Drugproblemen vzw (VAD)


Estonian Temperance Union (Ühendus Alkoholivaba Eesti –AVE)


Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention (EHYT)


Alcohol Action Ireland

Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland

Royal College of Physicians of Ireland


Eurocare Italy


Lithuanian National Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition


Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP


ACTIS-Policy Network on Alcohol and Drugs


The Salvation Army (Norway)


No Excuse



Asociacion de Ex-Alcoholicos Españoles


Addiction Info Switzerland


Turkish Green Crescent Society

United Kingdom

Alcohol Concern

Alcohol Focus Scotland

Alcohol Health Alliance

British Association for the Study of the Liver

British Medical Association (BMA)

Institute of Alcohol Studies

Royal College of Emergency Medicine

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP)

UKCTAS –UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies

UK Health Forum