F1 teams could lose alcohol sponsors

Struggling F1 teams could be dealt another financial blow.

There are reports that the European Union is considering banning alcohol sponsorships in sport.

Some years ago, F1 had to deal with the loss of tobacco millions, even though Ferrari continues to be quietly backed by Marlboro parent Philip Morris.

"It (sponsorship) is crucial," said team boss Marco Mattiacci in Monaco. "It is fundamental to attract sponsors in formula one."

In tobacco's wake, sponsorships by alcoholic beverage brands have become prevalent in F1.

McLaren has a 'Johnnie Walker' livery this weekend in Monaco, Force India is headed by the Indian drinks magnate Vijay Mallya, and Williams' new Martini deal was hailed as the return of an iconic sponsor to formula one.

"It's getting harder and harder to go out there and bring sponsors in," said Claire Williams. "We're continually out there trying to bring in new sponsors to keep Williams alive."

According to reports, the task may soon get even harder.

"This is a mirror image of what happened with tobacco sponsorship," an insider at the European Union told The Times newspaper.

"Governments are moving fast to bring in health legislation, and alcohol sponsorship is an obvious target. What happened with tobacco a few years ago will happen with alcohol," the source warned.

(GMM)

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