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Todt in Paris atrocity gaffe

NEWS STORY
15/11/2015

FIA president Jean Todt has controversially compared the number of people killed in road traffic accidents with the number of people killed in Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris.

A planned minute's silence ahead of today's Brazilian Grand Prix to mark Remembrance Sunday (us neither) for victims of road accidents will instead be used to pay tribute to the victims of Friday's atrocities, and Todt isn't happy.

“Do you realise that the number of people killed in road accidents is by far bigger than the number of people who died in Paris,” he told Canal+ in the Interlagos paddock on Saturday, a comment greeted with incredulity and instantly dubbed as highly insensitive.

“We had already planned to do something at the occasion of the day of celebrations for road victims," he said. "Every day on our streets, 3,500 people die. Every day there are 30 times more people who die than in the Paris assassinations.

"We had decided a minute of silence and of course we can't ignore what happened in Paris. We will thus have a moment of attention for what happened in Paris."

The Frenchman also insisted that it would be wrong for the FIA to place special significance on Friday's events merely because its headquarters are in Paris.

"It's a bewilderment, the horror of this attack in Paris, but that could happen anywhere in the world," he said. "We are only poor spectators in front of such a spectacle.

"Paris is one of the great capitals of the world and it's not appropriate to link the FIA to this tragic accident. But you can only suffer when you see such a drama and we hope it won't happen again."

The F1 paddock still in shock at events across the Atlantic, Bernie Ecclestone argued for the sport to pay tribute solely to Friday's victims which led to the FIA "modifying" it's planned tribute to victims of road traffic accidents.

A statement issued last night reads:

"Because of the horrific terrorist attacks of 13 November in Paris, the ceremony to pay tribute to the casualties of road traffic accidents scheduled for the Brazilian Grand Prix within the framework of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims has been modified.

The drivers' parade lap will see all competitors wearing a black armband as a sign of mourning and tribute to the victims of the Paris tragedy and as a gesture of solidarity with their families and loved ones.

In addition, a French flag decorated with a black ribbon will be carried on the truck used during the drivers' parade. The same flag will be displayed on the world television feed, as will 13.11.2015, the date of the tragedy.

Finally, a backdrop prepared for the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims will be displayed behind the drivers on the grid at 13h45 (local time) for a minute of silence as a tribute to those who have lost their lives or have been injured in road traffic accidents."

Check out our Sunday gallery, here.

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