Honda website
Honda website

JULY 10, 2004

British Medical Journal attacks F1

The British Medical Journal had attacked Formula 1 racing, arguing that "Formula 1 has become a core feature in the ongoing globalisation of the tobacco pandemic" and is urging member states of the World Health Organization to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to encourage comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion. The BMJ says that the treaty "could greatly undermine the value of Formula 1 to the tobacco industry".

The article uses internal documentation from British American Tobacco to show that the cigarette company's racing team BAR has "been successful in promoting the company's products, especially in emerging countries". The journal claims that the documents show that BAT "was able to develop the global appeal of its brands through extensive broadcast media coverage specifically directed at young people, merchandising proposals and activities aimed at children and young people, and race sponsorships in emerging markets in Asia".

The BMJ also says that the structure of Formula 1 is changing, "so as to more effectively promote the interests of its sponsors, shifting races from heavily regulated European markets towards important emergent markets, particularly in Asia. As part of this process, races have been used as political pawns in an attempt to curb public health regulation of tobacco products. Numerous countries have granted advertising ban exceptions to Formula 1 in order to prevent the loss of coveted national races."