Honda F1 website

DECEMBER 15, 2006

In passing

The tobacco world is no longer a part of Formula 1 - despite some red and white chevrons that will be seen on the Ferraris - but it is worth noting that the industry continues to consolidate and that Japan Tobacco, backer for many years of the Renault F1 team, is buying Britain's Gallaher Group Plc for $14.7bn. Gallaher's is best known as the owner of Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut, both of which have enjoyed much success in the racing. The sale will consolidate Japan Tobacco as the third big player in the tobacco industry behind Marlboro's parent Altria and British American Tobacco. This is JT's second big purchase in the last seven years, following the acquisition of RJR Nabisco's non-U.S. tobacco business for $7.8bn in 1999.

The move is the company's first big strategic step under the new chief executive Hiroshi Kimura , who took control of the company in June.