DECEMBER 30, 2005
The death throes of tobacco sponsorships in F1
A court in Paris has fined newspapers Le Point, Le Monde and Les Echos $1000 apiece for failure to observe the advertising rules which insist that photographs of Formula 1 cars must have all tobacco sponsorship air-brushed out of the picture. Meanwhile problems are developing in Spain and Hungary where the local governments are trying to find ways to circumnavigate the European Union tobacco sponsorship ban. Formula One Management has deals with the circuits which are dependent on the races being tobacco-branded but Spain has new national legislation coming in on January 1 2006 which will be similar to the French and Italian legislation. However in this legislation there is a special dispensation for the Spanish Gp and various motorcycle races. The European Union says it will take any member country which flaunts the ban to the European Court of Justice. The question of tobacco advertising is reducing in F1 with all the tobacco companies bar Marlboro, Mild Seven and Benson & Hedges now having withdrawn from the sport. B&H had only a minimal presence in 2005 and its plans for 2006 have yet to be revealed while rumours hint that Mild Seven will depart at the end of 2006. Marlboro remains the hardliner, having signed a new longterm deal with Ferrari. Whether this proves to be cost-effective will be interesting to see but the company has covered itss back by buying the advertising space on the Ferraris for a rumoured $180m a year and can sell off the space to other companies if needs be.
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