FEBRUARY 12, 2001
Marlboro's future in F1
THERE have been reports from Germany suggesting that Marlboro is contemplating an end to its involvement in Formula 1. This is not really a surprise as the company has scaled back its F1 involvement in recent years as advertising restrictions become more widespread. The company is, however, expected to continue until 2006 when virtually all tobacco sponsorship in F1 is expected to disappear. Rumors that Marlboro may go before then are probably related to negotiations with Ferrari. Marlboro is paying a vast amount of money to be associated with Michael Schumacher but Ferrari will be pushing up the price, having won the World Championship in 2000. Ferrari needs to push up the price as it is having to pay out to keep hold of the team who made the victory possible. Michael Schumacher is expected to resign for Ferrari for another three years but he will be asking perhaps $30m a year. Marlboro undoubtedly wishes to continue in F1 but not at any price...
With Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne now confirmed at Ferrari, the negotiations have begun for Michael Schumacher to extend his contract at the end of 2002. His manager Willy Weber will be pushing hard for more money while Ferrari will be trying to keep down the costs, so a leak in a German magazine from Ferrari suggesting that money may be tight in the future should not really be a surprise.