You'd think that a professional driver's skills would be universal. You'd also think that the rules regarding drinking and driving would apply the same to the water as they would to the road. But as it turns out neither is necessarily the case.

The point is driven home by the conviction in Finland of one JJ Lehto. If the name sounds familiar, that's because it belongs to an accomplished racing driver. Although Lehto only managed a single podium finish over the course of seven years in F1, he also raced in CART (today known as the IndyCar Series) and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice.

Back in June 2010, Lehto and a friend were traveling at apparently high velocity via speedboat through a canal in Finland when their boat struck a bridge support. JJ was injured, but his friend was killed. While Lehto's defense attorneys claimed he was not driving the boat at the time, the courts evidently felt otherwise.

Ruling that he was both speeding and operating the powerboat while intoxicated, the courts sentenced him to two years and four months in prison. Lehto's lawyer is appealing the ruling, but if the verdict sticks, Lehto will be one of the few former grand prix drivers in history to be put behind bars.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 2 Comments
      klo3
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is the bridge which the boat crashed into: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/3138865 The speed limit in the canal is 5km/h while JJ's boat had a speed of at lest 40 knots. That's over 46mph at a 3mph speed limit. As you can figure the canal is quite shallow, but hey, sometimes it can be hard to estimate velocity...
      Ajay A. Desai
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, that seems sketchy in terms of finland's legal system. Unless they could find the steering wheel and show no evidence of his friends fingerprints, it seems impossible to determine that he was driving the boat.