MARCH 13, 2002
After tobacco comes speed...
A few years ago FIA President Max Mosley was asked about the possibility that the automobile industry might one day have to face similar restrictions to those endured by the tobacco trade. At the time Mosley dismissed the idea as ridiculous but the Belgian government has just voted through new laws forcing car companies to add tobacco-style safety warnings to all automobile advertising. The Belgians are the first European government to impose such rules although Brazil last year announced plans for road safety messages to be attached to all car advertising.
The thrust of the legislation is to stop car manufacturers selling their cars using speed as a selling point. This is a very serious threat to car racing as refusing to allow speed to be reflected as successful could wipe out all manufacturer interest in F1 racing.
The European Union is believed to be watching reactions to the Belgian laws with interest and might then attempt to create Pan-European restrictions.