Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Monte-Carlo, 2015

New threat to F1 alcohol sponsorship

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FIA President Jean Todt blasted for stance on alcohol sponsorship (The Telegraph)

"F1 was also warned its lucrative drinks deals may already be in breach in European Union directives, but the coalition of charities saved its severest criticism for Jean Todt, the FIA president."

Proposed F1 changes reflect need for stronger leadership (New Zealand Herald)

"If Jean (Todt)and I agreed... I said to him the other day if you come up with something sensible you've got my votes. Whatever it is I'll support you, and vice versa."

Bernie Ecclestone reveals his plans for Formula 1 customer cars (Autosport)

"I've been pushing, pushing, pushing for single chassis, single engine, and run it exactly the same as now, but they (the teams) can't muck around with it (the car)."

Vettel: Formula 1 needs to bring back fear factor (BBC)

"The first time I drove an F1 car I was scared and I don't think you get that any more. It is still difficult to drive fast but probably back in the years you needed a little bit bigger balls."

Heaven or hell? Monaco GP offers a vision of both (Reuters)

"It’s hell to work, so that’s the part that’s not likeable because it’s not the good old days where you went to a gala the night before and got drunk and raced anyway."

Max Verstappen Q&A: I’m living the dream (F1)

"Q: What has been the best part so far of being an F1 driver? MV: Driving the car. That is by far the best. Then spending time with the engineers and improving the car."

How did Lewis Hamilton manage to land £100m F1 contract with Mercedes? (The Guardian)

"Pay drivers will often negotiate personal sponsorship spaces on their helmets, caps, or race suits. As well as adding revenue this allows drivers to maintain long-standing relationships while teams can cut back on salary demands."

Michelin confirms interest in F1 return (Crash)

"We want to offer a tyre that a driver can use at the limit at all times. A driver should be pushing at all times and the tyres at the moment mean they are holding back to make them last."

I haven’t given up on a top drive, says Hulkenberg (Adam Cooper's F1 Blog)

"There’s a lot of good drivers around that have taken up the good seats, and there are only obviously a small number available. I very much like to think that there’s still an opportunity for me."

F1 2015 Teaser Trailer (F1 2015 via YouTube)

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Comment of the day

It what will hopefully not become a new Monaco Grand Prix tradition, lots of you have been filling in surveys:

Just filled out the GPDA questionnaire. I wish there was a question on grid girls; but I also found it a bit distasteful to ask if F1 should be more dangerous when there is a driver down the road from Monaco in a coma… Still, I commend the GPDA for doing what Bernie never seems to consider; the fans.
Jack (@Jmc200)

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Keith Collantine
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  • 48 comments on “New threat to F1 alcohol sponsorship”

    1. I always think that the money F1 lost with the tobacco ban is one of the many reasons of the lack of sponsorship among lower teams. Many expected technology brands to replace them but there hasn’t been a major deal since Philips left Williams. If F1 is forced to ban alcohol, it’s going to be a big problem, IMO.

      1. Alcohol sponsorship, I meant. :)

      2. it’s a strange situation with the tobacco sponsorship thing: the budget of the teams now are way bigger than 2001, for example. Many tobacco sponsorships (except, maybe, Marlboro) were replaced by bank or insurance, then the subprime crisis, and they were replaced with alcohol in many cases. So, i think that the tobacco sponsorship thing is no big deal. The big deal is the FOM poaching potential team sponsors for them…

      3. Funny that, maybe the biggest single sponsor in F1 is still financing (together with a onverly generous FOM) Ferrari splashing big money on finishing second and it is a Tobacco company!

    2. How I wish Michelin were supplying tyres to F1 under their philosophy right now, on the other hand the Pirellis are making me a lot less annoyed at F1 being paywalled here.

      1. Me too, and, lol.

      2. Nice! +1

    3. I find this new “need” to ban also alcohol as a sponsor a bit silly! Drinking while driving isn’t a problem for F1 to solve, it’s a character problem from some people in this world. I never drink while I drive, but seeing alcohol sponsors every minute during the weekend doesn’t make me want to drink more or less of what I normally drink… what, they actually think if they put something like a big brand of trousers there I’m gonna buy it the next day?! -.-
      Com’on if they take this type of sponsor out, after other ones, small teams (like Force India) would be out of the sport before the end of the season!!

      1. Mercedes have Petronas as main sponsor, Ferrari used to have Vodafone, minardi used to have Telefónica, williams used to have Compaq/HP. those companys still have a ton of money to spend in sponsorship. the question we should ask is: why those company don’t want to sponsor F1 anymore? is because tv viewership is lower now? not necessarily because WEC doesn’t lack sponsors and their tv figures must be a tenth of F1. but now, F1 have become (thanks to the pay-per-view model) a rather exclusive target for brands. why coca cola don’t invest in f1, and they spend so much money in nascar? because nascar is in a lower marketing target, and there’s only a few brands willing to spend in an exclusive target as f1 have now

        1. Well, yes you are right! The big question is

          why those company don’t want to sponsor F1 anymore?

          ! But I also don’t see anything wrong with the current alcohol sponsorship in some teams. The more, the better!

    4. When they banned tobacco advertising, that marketing budget didn’t just vanish. I don’t know what the statistics are on smoking, but I see more young people smoking then i ever have.

      1. For those curious as to what the statistics are</, seeing more young people smoking than ever, while perfectly possible, totally unrepresentative experience.

        1. It’s good that the statistics for school aged children has been reduced. But when I say young people I’m meaning 18-30 something’s.

          I’m 32 and back in my college days I’d say around a quarter of my peers smoked. I did music and hung out in the arts department so probably higher than typical numbers. I’m currently backpacking in Australia and I often feel like the only person who doesn’t smoke.

          It’s anecdotal but it feels like a lot more people in their twenties smoke than 10 years ago.

          1. @philipgb – Interesting how smoking habits have changed over the years. I travelled around Europe in 1980 for 3 1/2 months, mostly on trains of course. I was in my mid-twenties on trains in France sometimes filled with teenagers smoking up a thick fog with their Gauloises and Gitanes. Even though I would smoke occasionally myself, the fog of smoke was so thick it was unbelievable. Many of my German friends were heavy smokers too. Here in California back in the day it was not unusual to eat in a restaurant with someone sitting right next to you smoking. Now they would be removed. Still a lot of smokers, but not nearly as many as when I was growing up. That is a good thing.

            To me the alcohol sponsorship situation is different. Alcohol in moderation is only mildly different than food for most people. As in a glass of wine with a meal. That can’t be said about tobacco at all. The abuse of alcohol is not good, but the same can be said about many things in life. Excess can have deadly results. Some results can be quicker than others, your mileage may vary.

            It has been said that texting while driving has statistically surpassed drunk driving as a cause of accidents here in the US. Should all tech companies who have anything to do with cell phones be banned as sponsors of F1 too? How far can we go with this?

            1. @bullmello – the thing that’s really dangerous on the road is speed. So the next step has to be a top speed cap, say 60kph…

          2. @philipgb, 2 possible reasons you’re seeing a lot of smokers;
            1. You are mixing with backpackers from Europe and Asia where smoking is still considered “cool”.
            2. You are in rural Australia where it has been equally slow to get the message across .

          3. I know at least in Australia it’s been falling steadily for years.


            The modern growth markets for tobacco don’t include wealthy, educated westerners. Which does tell you something about the effectiveness of advertising for both cases.

          4. Conversely, I’m in my mid twenties and don’t have a single friend or colleague who smokes.

    5. @jmc200 your Cotd is spot on. There was a question about start grid access and whether it should be reserved to the team engineers, or like now, with grid girls mentionned. A bit of a twisty question unfortunately. I answered the survey in fr*ench.

    6. The alcohol issue is just absurd. Does Telmex sponsorship encourage texting and driving? I get it that some people view drinking as a general scourge and see f1 ads as low hanging fruit, because f1 has a limited constituency. An easy mark. That’s why f1 and fans have fight back hard.

      On the tires, I understand the wheel diameter to be limited to control brake rotor size. We could maintain the same rotor size by rule. But then you have big wheels and teeny rotors—that tacky look like when people put 20s on their honda civics with the small stock brakes. I don’t think we want to go way up in rotor diameter with the same exotic materials we have now. Actually It may be a good opportunity to slash costs and go to a spec steel rotor.

      Also it looks like Bernie is dead set on customer cars. Of course he will be the supplier— more money for Bernie! This is basically an attempt to put the coup de grace on the non SG teams and make the series the private province of the rich teams. I hope he is living in a refrigerator box by the river eating cat food when the UK tax authorities finish with him.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        23rd May 2015, 9:33

        Does Telmex sponsorship encourage texting and driving?


        Does Clear sponsorship encourage not wearing a helmet?

      2. “I hope he is living in a refrigerator box by the river eating cat food when the UK tax authorities finish with him.” +1000 had a good laugh here… agreed with your argument in general, good one!

    7. If tobacco and alcohol peddlers want to pump their money into F1 to keep our racing going….LET THEM! It doesn’t push me purchase their products. Thank God for the energy drink companies. They are our only hope to keep the money flowing.

      1. They’ll probably be the next target of protest & EU regulation, given the ungodly mix of chemicals that make up their swill…

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        23rd May 2015, 9:39

        @wesley, but tobacco does push other people (start) smoking!
        And IMO that is wrong, wrong, wrong (and stupid for any educated person to pick it up).

        One of the big risks is that Sugars and Fats will be the next products to be banned from advertising. There goes your energy drink, and most fizzy drinks, as next sponsorship.

    8. It only a matter of time isnt it? Everything will be banned soon. Alcohol and Gambling are the two big vices that still can advertise, soon they wont be allowed to. The next target will be the fast food joints and possibly energy drinks..after that the fizzy drink giant will be on the choppers, beyond that maybe chocolate companies.

      ..after all that, they will probably ban phone companies from advertising due to the adverse effects of anti social behavior…then they might want a ban on TV and online streaming sites due to tv addiction.

      All these people who want to ban this and that are hypocrites. If a product is available for legal tender, why should it not be allowed advertisement? This is pure and simply unfair. Make the products illegal then, make smokes, booze and gambling illegal, dont sell it. I dare any government (except countries where the latter two are illegal) to do it. They wont..because if the amount of sin tax revenue they collect.

      1. pxcmerc (@)
        23rd May 2015, 2:49

        Hope they ban the champaign on the podium too. It’s all getting a bit ridiculous. Just wait until the cars drive themselves.

      2. @jaymenon10 @stigsemperfi Surely you can see why tobacco advertising had to be banned? Unlike alcohol and gambling which can be harmless if done in moderation, smoking actively harms the user and even those around the user who are subjected to other people’s second hand smoke every single use.

        Tobacco companies make money out of selling a product that directly harms the user and those around them and contributes directly to a huge number of health issues that costs governments billions to have to treat. There’s zero benefit to society from allowing tobacco companies to advertise and the fact that smoking has more than halved in the UK now compared to 40 years ago suggests that the lack of advertising is contributing to less people picking up the habit to begin with.

        As for alcohol – which a lot of people do abuse in Europe and worldwide, for that matter – there is plenty of evidence that enjoying a drink in moderation isn’t harmful and that’s why we have things like the whole unit system to try and help people enjoy a drink without doing themselves long-term harm.

        Unfortunately, a lot of people are either unable or unwilling to moderate their drinking which leads to all sorts of problems from anti-social behaviour, drink-driving and health issues which, again, costs an alarming amount of money and lives.

        While I don’t think it’s fair to treat alcohol companies the same way as tobacco companies when alcohol is only harmful when it is abused, I can understand why lawmakers might be considering restricting the advertising of alcohol in arenas like motosport as drink-driving continues to be such a major issue even today.

        1. what is your definition of moderation?

        2. Lets also not forget to put the criticism on Alcohol sponsorship in the perspective of Todt wanting (having been handed now) a role at the UN for road safety. Many non profits in the field are highly critical of that (and rightly so), and this is another of the arguments against Todt in the role he aspires more than an out of the blue attack on F1.

        3. “even those around the user who are subjected to other people’s second hand smoke every single use”
          As you get out of your car that spewed who knows what on your way to the shop and then give me a dirty look and a cough for smoking a ciggy on the sidewalk. What a joke this argument is. I am guessing one trip anywhere in a car will put more cancer causing garbage into the air than a lifetime of smoking.

          1. That’s just silly smoker talk. I have never in my life felt more like dieing than being in rooms full of smokers. You get out and you stink so much you need to wash you cloths three times to get the sent out and if you look at the ceiling it looks like a cancerous lung.

      3. @jaymenon10

        All these people who want to ban this and that are hypocrites. If a product is available for legal tender, why should it not be allowed advertisement?

        Completely agree with you. A lot of hypocrisy flowing around.

    9. I think gambling problems are higher now then ever. Most of my friends is playing on Web casinos etc. I think the williams car is stunning but i drink smirnoff ice and beer, not Martini

    10. First tobacco and now this?! Why don’t they just ban tyres because people do doughnuts? I see why Britain wants out of the EU.

      1. No kidding! The EU can be such a nanny state.

        1. Squirt much?

      2. Why don’t they just ban tyres because people do doughnuts?

        you are mixing up the EU and Australia there @stigsemperfi.

        And lets not forget this is more about criticism of Todt for aspiring that UN road safety role (and the conflicting roles he then plays) than criticizing F1. Also, wy pull the EU in to this if its NGOs making the claims?

        There are many states in Asia where the alcohol ads are banned far more than in the EU (one of the reasons why Mallya started his Cricket team and airline – to be able to use the name of his Kingfisher beer in advertising)

        1. @bascb, if you read the quotes in the article more closely, it turns out that the only references to EU Directives are by the NGO’s themselve.

          The EU’s institutions have actually made no reference to this case, or even shown any interest in it so far – the NGO’s trying to force the EU into taking action by publicly claiming that F1 in in breach of the EU’s Directives.

    11. Neil (@neilosjames)
      23rd May 2015, 5:23

      As someone who feels an uncontrollable urge to drink a litre of Martini and take my F1 car out for a spin every time I so much as hear a Williams, I wholeheartedly support a ban on alcohol advertising.

    12. Ian Laidler (@)
      23rd May 2015, 6:24

      I find the ban on tobacco and the suggestion of a similar ban on alcohol a little pathetic. I used to smoke and still have the occasional tipple but never have I been influenced by advertising in F1 or any other sport. Trouble are too many people in authority that think, that we the general public and sports fans are mindless morons who will eat, drink and smoke anything the advertisers put in front of us.

      We should remember that F1 is an extremely expensive sport and if the tobacco and alcohol companies are prepared to help teams through lucrative sponsorship deals, then they should be allowed to … there is way to much political correctness in sport today and if Mr Todt and his cronies go down this route it will be another nail in the coffin of F1, just as a side issue, when did the EU start running sport, they are getting just a little to big for their tiny little boots and what pray is the coalition of charities, another bunch of cronies with made up jobs and fancy titles.

      1. @grumpy.. +1000..cotd

      2. I find such statements ironic because you are basically saying to this companies to stop sponsoring F1 teams because their advertising doesn’t affect people at all.
        But people in advertizing long have made studies on how a name brand constantly being shown to you can actually have an affect even subconscious.
        Yes i believe seeing the Martini on Williams for example can really make some people at least try Martini or buy a few bottles when they wouldn’t. BUT that is not what we should be discussing. What we should be discussing is if seeing Martini on an F1 car makes you want to drink Martini before actually driving. That is a little bit an act of stupidity and i don’t think such relation exist.
        When i was seeing Vodafone on Mclaren i may have thought of checking out a contract with Vodafone for a year to see how it is but i never thought “Cool that means i can get a Vodafone mobile and text while am in the highway going at top speed”.

    13. Keith, I think you should trawl through the archives, and compile a list of all the ridiculous ideas for the direction of F1 that Bernie has come up with over the years. This way, fans and teams might think twice about suggesting that he alone decides way the sport is run.

      Customer cars, double points and track side sprinklers immediately spring to mind… I’m sure there are countless others.

    14. The problem with F1 in Monaco streets is that people will think: “Wow, these racers drive no less than 80 km/h, with the maximum about 250! I can do the same stuff”.
      So the problem is F1, we must forbid this racing at all. It provokes ordinary people to think that they can drive that fast in streets.
      PS: hypocrisy as it is. There is no reason to prohibit anything, it simply doesn’t work out. We should only explain when and where we can drink and smoke and swear.

    15. I read the whole “study” of alcohol advertising and sponsorship in F1 and I do not think that anyone should take it seriously. It is just too simplified and the conclusions are not supported by evidence. The authors refer to several other studies, which indicate that “exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship is associated with increased levels of consumption”. They also have watched the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix and counted the number of times “Martini” or other alcohol brands appeared on TV. This made them conclude that “alcohol sponsorship in F1 leads to an extremely high exposure of alcohol brands”.

      Advertising normally leads to increased consumption of the advertised thing, there is a lot of alcohol advertising in F1 and excessive alcohol consumption is obviously a bad thing. No one doubts that and you do not need a study to prove it. But the “study” is doing just that, there is no analysis of the connection between the presence of Martini, Smirnoff and Johnny Walker in F1 and drinking habits of F1 fans. Needless to say that the authors do not question why F1 teams accept that kind of sponsorship and what the consequences of banning alcohol sponsorship in F1 would be.

      If you want to fight for or against something, then do it properly, this paper should simply be thrown out.

    16. Scared? Does Vettel really want to be scared driving the car? Skip Monte Carlo next year and spend the Month of May in Speedway, IN. That will scare you Sebass!

    17. I think what you people skipped is that now we have the FIA president actively hurting F1 because of his personal vanity of becoming someone in the UN.
      This groups are now attacking sponsorship in F1 and bothering so much after being alerted by Todt’s UN ambitions.
      If he is dreaming of important UN positions then he should quit being FIA president.

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