Todt launches legal action against former F1 driver

22/01/2015
NEWS STORY

Jean Todt and Gerard Saillant, President of the FIA Medical Commission, have begun legal action against former F1 driver Philippe Streiff.

The move was announced in a short statement on the FIA's website and relates to comments made by Streiff in regards the FIA Panel which investigated the circumstances surrounding Jules Bianchi's accident at Suzuka.

To put it bluntly, he effectively suggested the enquiry was an FIA ‘whitewash’ aimed at exonerating the sport’s governing body of any blame.

The Frenchman is also responsible for a number of dubious comments made to the media about Michael Schumacher's condition (and prospects).

In December, on the anniversary of Schumacher's skiing accident, Streiff, who was left quadriplegic following a crash during pre-season testing at Jacarepagua in 1989, and described by Le Parisien as a "friend" of the German, made a number of comments to the media which were immediately denied by the seven-time world champion's manager Sabine Kehm.

"I do not know where Mr Streiff has his information from because he has no contact with us and he never has," she told Reuters.

Today's statement from the FIA, regarding Todt and Saillant's action against Streiff, reads:

"The FIA, its President Jean Todt, as well as Gerard Saillant, President of the FIA Medical Commission, are dismayed to learn of the remarks made about them by Philippe Streiff in his recent comments on the state of Jules Bianchi's health.

These remarks having been published by certain media, the FIA, Jean Todt and Gerard Saillant categorically state that Philippe Streiff's insulting and defamatory comments are utterly unfounded and demonstrate malicious intent.

In view of the seriousness of this deliberate attack on their reputations, they have had to ask their lawyers to lodge a complaint for public defamation and insult so that the circulation of Philippe Streiff's statements is stopped immediately and sanctioned in an appropriate manner.

They find it regrettable that this incident only serves to add to the suffering of Jules Bianchi's family, for whom they would like to reiterate their support."

Chris Balfe

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Published: 22/01/2015
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