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Drugs and drivers: Doping in F1

2013-08-12 08:58

DRUGS IN F1: Marc Sanson, former head of the French anti-doping council, said that F1 drivers used a drug called Tacrine to enhance their memories of circuit layouts. Image: AFP

Even Formula 1 is not immune to using drugs, according to an expert. From 2003 to 2005, Marc Sanson was head of the French anti-doping council.

In 2013 the French senate revealed an explosive report about drugs, with particular attention to the troubled world of cycling. The senate also paid attention to other sports, including the use of beta-blockers in golf.


During his time at the anti-doping council, Sanson said, F1 drivers used performance-enhancing drugs.

Sanson said: "For many years, drivers used Tacrine, a product used in the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's to remember the circuits more easily."

Interntiional Automobile Federation medical delegate Jean-Charles Piette told ESPN: "If you consider that we will have qualifying in the afternoon and the gap between two drivers may be a few thousandths of a second, so something that might help, to make you level, perhaps might potentially help. At least, you could imagine that somebody might think so."

The federation complies with the World Anti-Doping Agency and subjects its drivers in various categories to random drug tests which must meet that organisation's standards.

Piette said: "Formula 1 drivers have both in and out-of-competition testing and they have to fill in - every three months - an Excel file indicating for each day a one-hour slot where they will be. The main goal is to find out if they are taking drugs like anabolic steroids for their muscles, or perhaps other drugs to lose some weight.

"Now they also have, on a random basis, in-competition testing. We have some every year. That will happen once or twice a year, and they won't know in advance. It's just a urine test - at the moment there are no blood tests."


Red Bull's Mark Webber called for the federation to do more: "I've always championed the idea of doing more of it (drug tests) but the FIA has never really been that strong on it.

"The other drivers have never been super strong on it, so it's never really been a huge issue. You know, with what's at stake, the money involved and all that type of stuff, people do things. It's extremely unlikely, but you never say never."
Read more on:    f1  |  drivers  |  doping  |  motorsport

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