SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Drivers will wear black armbands as a tribute to the victims of the deadly Paris attacks when they are presented to Formula One fans before Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
A flatbed truck carrying drivers around the track on the normally joyous parade lap will also be decorated with a French flag with a black ribbon, according to changes made by the sport’s governing International Automobile Federation (FIA), Paris-based and led by Frenchman Jean Todt.
However, a planned minute’s silence before the race will be billed as a tribute to road traffic victims rather than the 129 people killed in the Paris attacks on Friday night.
Sunday is the United Nations’ World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
Todt, who has made road safety a cornerstone of his presidency, drew media criticism on Saturday for his reaction when he spoke to French television station Canal Plus about the events in Paris.
“One can only suffer when you see a drama like that, one can only think of all the victims and hope that it never happens again,” he said.
“We have already planned to do something tomorrow to mark the day of remembrance for road traffic victims. Every day, there are 3,500 people who die on the roads, that’s 30 times more than the number who died in the attacks.”
All major sporting events in the Paris region were suspended on Saturday as France mourned the victims of the attacks in the capital city the night before. The targets included the national sports stadium where France were playing Germany in a soccer friendly.
Romain Grosjean, the only French driver in the race, made his position clear.
“As a Frenchman if there is a minute of silence then for me it will be for the people in Paris and that have been attacked,” he said.
His Lotus team will race with #PrayForParis stickers on their cars.
(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Keith Weir)