APRIL 15, 2003
Williams "challenges the link between smoking and F1"
The new sponsorship deal between the BMW Williams team and GlaxoSmithKline's NiQuitin CQ brand is designed, according to GSK's Simon Pulsford to "challenge the link between smoking in Formula 1. It allows us to inspire hundreds of millions of smokers, who have been bombarded with pro-tobacco messages through Formula 1 for decades, to give up smoking."
The deal, which is for one year with long-term options, will see the NiQuitin CQ branding on the cockpit surround of the Williams cars, on the nose and on the sleeves of the drivers' overalls.
"This is a landmark deal for Formula 1," says the team's commercial boss Jim Wright. "We hope we are showing the sport the way forward."
Wright admitted that Williams has in the past been supported by tobacco companies but said that "there has been a change in public attitudes towards smoking" and that Williams has been without tobacco money for the last three years.
Pulsford said that the company is looking at F1 as "a long-term investment" as "changing attitudes will take time."
Sir Frank Williams has long defended the right of the team's to decide on their own commercial issues and has even been critical of the FIA's role in trying to introduce a global ban on tobacco sponsorship but Wright says that the fact that the team has taken anti-tobacco money is not related to that philosophy.
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