Finn JJ Lehto, ex-Formula One star, where he raced with Benetton and Sauber, and Le Mans winner (in 1995 and 2005), now has a different title to contemplate.
He was this week sentenced to prison by a Finnish court for two years and four months for the death of a friend who was a passenger in a speed boat Lehto was allegedly driving while intoxicated.
According to police, 45-year-old Lehto hit a bridge pylon while speeding at night in a narrow canal at Raasepori, Finland. While JJ (real name Jyrki Jarvilehto) claimed not to have been driving, and while also injured in the crash, police investigations concluded otherwise.
His injuries, the court accepted, were more likely to have been sustained while at the wheel, his friend’s fatal injuries consistent with having occupied the passenger’s seat.
Lehto has appealed the sentence and conviction.
Besides Formula One where he debuted with the Onyx team and later partnered Michael Schumacher in Benneton, Lehto made a name in Le Mans at the wheel of the Porsche 962C, McLaren F1 GTR and Cadillac LMP02. He also spent time in the US CART series as a factory driver for Mercedes Benz.
More recently, he has been an F1 commentator for Finnish TV.