Former Grand Prix driver JJ Lehto has received a two year and four month prison sentence in relation to a speedboat crash in his native Finland in June 2010.
The 45-year-old – who was charged under his real name of Jyrki Javilehto – was deemed to have been intoxicated at the time of the night time accident, in which a close friend of his was killed. The boat hit a bridge support in a narrow canal linking two lakes near Rassepori.
Lehto had denied that he was driving at the time of the crash, but the court decreed that he was. He has lodged an appeal.
Lehto was originally a protégé of Marlboro and Keke Rosberg. He won the British F3 title in 1988, and made his F1 debut for the Onyx team in 1989. Later he raced for Scuderia Italia, Sauber and Benetton, making a total of 62 starts before his final outing in Australia in 1994 – after he had moved back to Sauber following a disastrous spell as Michael Schumacher’s team mate. His best result was a lapped third at Imola in 1991 for Scuderia Italia.
He won Le Mans in 1995 and again in 2005, and also raced in the DTM, Champcar and the ALMS.
More recently he was an F1 commentator for Finnish TV, although he has not been seen at a race since the crash.