Double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has hit out at a move by the Spanish government to cut the speed limit on motorways in the country, arguing that there are better ways to save fuel consumption and the environment and claiming that 'at 110km/h (68mph), it is hard to stay awake'.
The decision to reduce the maximum speed from 120km/h (74mph) to 110km/h was made as part of efforts designed to slash Spain's fuel bill following the hike in global oil prices in the wake of all the Middle Eastern conflict of late.
According to the country's Deputy Prime Mininster, Perez Rubalcaba, the move – due to come into force on Monday – will save in the region of £1.25 billion in oil imports, and public transport prices will be cut by five per cent accordingly as an incentive to encourage people off the roads.
However, Alonso has slammed the decision, with the Daily Mail
quoting the Ferrari star as blasting: “I don't support this measure. There are other much more effective measures to reduce fuel consumption than this one. At 110km/h, it is hard to stay awake.”
The last time the speed limit was similarly reduced in Spain – during the 1976 oil crisis – accidents reportedly increased, and former GP2-turned-WTCC ace Javier Villa agrees with his compatriot in asserting that 'studies have established that the lower the speed, the lower the concentration and the driver is more relaxed, so Fernando Alonso is not wrong at all'.
The Popular Party, Spain's conservative opposition, has accused the measure of being 'soviet' and contends that changing all of the road signs will be both costly and time-consuming, whilst a figure of £425 million in lost tax earnings has also been mooted.
The announcement comes as the British Government is conversely evaluating proposals to give the economy a timely boost by increasing the speed limit on motorways from 70mph to 80mph.