As part of its global responsible drinking programme - Join the Pact - Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker staged a driving spectacular in London with the stars of the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team to encourage people to never drink and drive.
During the event, F1 stars Mika Häkkinen, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, and fellow McLaren Honda driver and 2015 GP2 Champion Stoffel Vandoorne thrilled spectators, demonstrating their control skills in London’s Wembley Park and driving competition winners and special guests in a range of cars, including McLaren road cars and the Johnnie Walker supercar Caparo T1.
The event was part of the responsible drinking festive campaign, Join the Pact. Last year, Johnnie Walker announced its intention to gather five million ‘Join The Pact’ commitments by 2018 and has since passed the half-way mark, with almost 2.6 million people having made a personal promise to never drink and drive.
The event is also marked by the premiere of a new ‘Join The Pact’ film featuring Johnnie Walker Global Responsible Drinking Ambassador, Mika Häkkinen.
As part of the campaign Johnnie Walker is providing safe rides home with UBER in the UK and Lothian Buses in Edinburgh at Hogmanay. Johnnie Walker and UBER are providing £10 off rides for a limited number of existing users who Join The Pact, and UBER will also fund unlimited £10 rides for new users on top of that for the duration of the festive campaign.
The event also supports the Department for Transport’s Road Safety campaign ‘THINK!’
Andrew Jones MP, Minister for Transport said: “Drivers know that drink driving is wrong. It can destroy families and ruin lives. Yet some people at Christmas will still take the risk and get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t.
“Over the past 30 years drink-drive deaths have fallen significantly but every death or serious injury is one too many. The best way for drivers to keep themselves and other road users safe is simple: don’t drink and drive. I encourage drivers to Join the Pact to not drive after a tipple this Christmas.”
McLaren Honda driver Jenson Button said: “As racing drivers, we understand the importance of staying in control and never ever getting behind the wheel after consuming any alcohol.
“We’re confident that people will get the message. Millions already have, and we want to encourage millions more to make a personal commitment to get home safely and ‘Join The Pact’ by visiting jointhepact.com.”
Andrew Cowan, managing director of Diageo GB said: “During the festive season millions of Brits will celebrate with a drink, and we are committed to encouraging people to get home safely. We are so excited to be hosting this event in London, and we hope that many Londoners and people across the country will be inspired to join the 2.6 million people globally who have already made a pledge to never drink and drive.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Alcohol Licensing and Harm Reduction, Commander Simon Letchford said: "We’re very pleased to have this opportunity to work together with our partners from the drinks industry to get across the important message around responsible drinking over the festive season in the run-up to Christmas."
"We want people to enjoy a drink but to do so responsibly and safely, and bear in mind that anti-social behaviour and road traffic accidents put a strain on emergency services and divert them from priority calls. If you cause an offence or an accident as a result of alcohol you could also face serious penalties."
Mika Häkkinen said: “The holiday season is a time when friends and families get together to celebrate and share gifts of thanks with each other. It’s a time for parties and reunions and we want to make sure that those who are out celebrating with alcohol leave their cars at home.”
People can make their pledge to never drink and drive by visiting www.jointhepact.com or by tweeting #JoinThePact to @JohnnieWalker_.