http://theage.drive.com.au/motor-ne...-to-drive-motorsport-boss-20110315-1bv0y.html Children as young as three years old should be taught to drive. That's the opinion of Jean Todt, president of the Federation of International Automobiles (FIA), the governing body of motorsport. Todt said children should be encouraged to compete in go-karting as early as possible to help them become safer drivers when they reach legal age to drive on the road. "The best age is as soon as you can," Todt said. "I will say it is the best age when you can combine it with racing. Historically the biggest [motor racing] champions have started when they were three or four years old in go-karts. Then you start to raise the attention. In some countries you have children who are five years old who are at school. "Definitely education is essential from the beginning. It's something that you must pay very big attention to influence the education for young children as soon as we can." Todt was in Australia to visit with federal and state politicians as part of the FIA's role in road safety campaigns around the world. He was in Melbourne today to announce a grant of $125,000 to a road safety program from CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport), the local motor sport authority. The CAMS program is called Ignition and is targeted at children as young as 12. The Ignition course is focused on teaching driver attitude and vehicle dynamics before they get behind the wheel. A pilot program ran 11 courses in 2010 teaching more than 200 students. CAMS is now seeking additional funding from governments and insurance companies to roll Ignition out across the country. Todt has a long history in motor racing. He masterminded Michael Schumacher's five formula one world titles with Ferrari before being promoted to run the famous Italian sports car brand. But he told Drive that his priority since taking over leadership of the FIA is to promote its road safety work in a bid to cut the global road toll. He said he wants to use motor racing to encourage safer driving on the road. "Obviously the FIA is very much involved with its clubs. We are very much pushing for bigger synergy between sport and mobility clubs. We feel that sport, racing, must be a very good ambassador for road safety. Incidentally, I know that Mark Webber is going to a promotion for road safety together with Red Bull and the Australian Grand Prix. It's very important that we use our drivers, our teams, our championships to be strong ambassador for road safety." Todt came to the defence of former world champion Lewis Hamilton, who was caught performing a burn-out leaving the Australian Grand Prix circuit last year. "I mean it was unnecessary what he did, the way he reacted," Todt said. "I think it was agreed that he did a big mistake. You know what is important, I don't think anybody in this room will say, 'I have never made a mistake in my life.' I think what is important to me is to learn out of mistakes. He has definitely learnt out of his mistake and one unnecessary action will have a positive effect on the future." He also defended the use of speed cameras in Australia and praised the work by local authorities in cutting the road toll. (muppet) "I feel that Australia has been doing one outstanding job," he said. "I hate hearing 'It's fantastic we have only 2000 fatalities'. I mean 2000 is a huge number. It's always important to compare what the situation was 10 years ago [to] what is the situation is now. In Australia if you see what the situation was 10 years ago and what the situation is now, one outstanding job has been done. Obviously, cameras are part of the action that has been helping fatalities and accidents."