EU: Ferrari and McLaren tobacco deals “require close examination”

2019 F1 season

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The European Union’s Health, Food Safety and Energy Union department has confirmed to RaceFans that it is “closely examining” recent initiatives by the tobacco industry involving Formula 1 teams.

The comment follows an amendment to the FIA’s 2019 entry list, which reflects Ferrari’s entry as ‘Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow’, a reference to long-time backer Philip Morris International’s corporate initiative to offer healthier alternatives to smokers.

The team also confirmed that the red cars will carry Mission Winnow logos, a move that attracted the attention of Australian health authorities.

Earlier this week McLaren announced a partnership with British American Tobacco, with a BAT press release announcing the company’s “A Better Tomorrow” initiative under its “Transforming Tobacco” campaign.

According to the release the slogan will have “on-car and off-car presence”, and is expected to be revealed during Thursday’s McLaren MCL34 car launch.

A 2003 EU directive banned all forms of sponsorship by tobacco brands in member states, and was updated in 2014 to include electronic cigarettes and other emerging forms of tobacco consumption.

“The Commission continues to closely follow the implementation of the bans of sponsorship and advertising as foreseen by the Tobacco Advertising Directive, also in the context of Formula 1,” Anca Padurara, a spokesperson for the EU’s Health, Food Safety and Energy Union projects, told RaceFans in a statement.

“Recently, the Commission has been made aware of these recent initiatives by the tobacco industry. They will require further close examination following which the Commission will proceed as necessary.”

F1’s governing body banned tobacco sponsorship in the sport from the end of 2006, having imposed regulations based on prevailing EU laws and World Health Organisation guidelines.

A PMI spokesperson last week told RaceFans: “Let me reiterate that Mission Winnow is not, and will not, be used by [PMI] for any tobacco or nicotine containing products,” while BAT maintains that its message will “at all times [be] in line with applicable regulation and legislation”.

Read Dieter Rencken’s exclusive analysis of the situation to be published in today’s RacingLines column on RaceFans.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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  • 33 comments on “EU: Ferrari and McLaren tobacco deals “require close examination””

    1. Good news. Ferrari/PMI have been gaming the rules for years, but it seems they have taken a step forward last year with their thinly veiled Marlboro visuals in the “wimmoonnow” thingy.

      Clearly that has attracted the attention of other tobacco companies too. Interesting how BAT combines what PMI is doing with a message inspired from Heineken (who we all know is not at all trying to convince us to drink alcoholic beverages, right) to also step in.

      I can almost imagine how a clever BAT employee came up with this to try and stop PMI with getting away with violating the agreements made (be it in a possibly legal way) and stir up attention to get it curbed.
      And if that won’t do the trick, they will be the first to join in on the fun and promote their business through sports again too.
      Shows BAT clearly learnt the way things are done in F1 and used that same strategy teams take when a competitor comes up with a good trick. Copy it or get it banned.

      So let us hope that for the health of all of us, both of these companies get called back by regulators.

      1. It makes me imagine how Merc paying BAT to do this to disrupt Ferrari.

      2. Its highly unimaginable for PMI and BAT to not to think of the possibility of investigation before pouring miney into this trick. Lets seenif their himework outsmarts the investigations or they pay for the lapse.

        1. Argh. Pardon my typo

      3. Hm, maybe Heineken is sincere in wanting to sell non alcoholic though – – but BAT nor PMI are trying to get towards non nicotine smoking (even if they seem to be bringing products that put out less of the other disgusting cocktail than real cigarettes)

        1. Yes they can charge more for it than its equivalent with alcohol, or at least make a greater profit.
          As someone with CKD I have tried most of the non-alcoholic versions of beer and cider, and can confirm that most are appalling, loaded with sugar and a very odd taste. (Only St Peters without actually resembles a proper beer flavour, (it is a stout actually)

          But high time Ferrari had their huge advantage cut down a bit, well a lot actually.

      4. who we all know is not at all trying to convince us to drink alcoholic beverages, right?

        @bascb reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Duffman arrives at Moe’s with a beer prize for Barney, who tells him he’s the designated driver and Duffman says in a very serious voice: “Duff wholeheartedly supports the designated driver program. NOW!!! WHO WANTS TO PAAAAR-TEEEEEY?!”

    2. BAT press release announcing the company’s “A Better Tomorrow” initiative

      They should have called it “Better A Tomorrow”, which is quite fitting for their smoking customers and abbreviates quite smartly.

      1. Lol good one.

    3. Really tenuous to link the appearance of the Ferrari logo with Marlboro. Everyone knows both are owned by the same company but apart from colours one could never be mixed with the other. I asked people at work what the Mission Winnow logo reminded them of and nobody could come up with Marlboro, they were all shocked when I showed the news stories. With all this publicity its actually achieving what the nanny state is against, its bringing the Marlboro brand to a wide audience.

      If the Mission Winow logo is wrong then the new Haas and Renault liveries need to be protested for invoking black face.

      1. COTD

      2. @Markp

        If the Mission Winow logo is wrong then the new Haas and Renault liveries need to be protested for invoking black face.

        The funniest thing I have read in a long time! Thank you for that!

      3. COTD. As long as the potential smokers will be paying the extortionate tax on their cigarettes while getting cancer, I don’t care.

      4. The fact that people don’t realize it’s a tobacco company doesn’t mean the European Union or any other authority should not have a look at it.

        PMI intentions are clear, otherwise why would they sponsor Ferrari? Besides, subliminal messages through advertising is exactly that, people not realizing what they are seeing. If it was clear, it’d be banned straight away.

        I agree that all these stories give free advertising, which is against what the rule makers of the world want. But maybe that’s exactly that tobacco companies wanted in the first place… they should pay the price if found guilty.

        1. @fer-no65: Precisely. Subliminal legitimization of banned death merchants. It’s the harmless alternative to “Transforming Tobacco” advertising.

      5. Agreed.
        Journo’s are looking to create a story here, and politicians are looking to make themselves relevant.
        If anyone needs to be told how there’s a link between ‘tobacco companies’ and these logos, then they’re not promoting any tobacco brands … and if someone already knows what the link is, then trying to reach them is pointless since they apparently already know the brands extensively.

    4. An EU body looking into something… guess we can expect a conclusion in 2026 or so, just in time for the introduction of the new-new rules.

      1. At VAST public expense.

        1. Can you leave your politics elsewhere please, you lot are the worst, and you are kindly invited to take your muddy boots off at the door, or go somewhere else. By muddy boots, I mean your poorly informed political beliefs.

          1. Who woke you up…? ;-)

    5. Frankly, if it weren’t for the media telling me all this, I would have never known tat those logos are associated with tobacco industry…perhaps I am not paying enough attention.

    6. Maybe “Mission Win Now” is too aggressive. What if they went with a more passive “Suggestion Sellmore”?

      1. You know I was so turned off by the blatant Americanism of “Mission Winnow” that I never even saw “win now” in there. The whole thing smacks of PR agencies charging millons for consultations, presentations to middle, then higher management, working lunches with champagne, three letter vips (COO, CEO, CFO OSS SOE SAS CIA FBI MI5 SO14 etc) at brand concept launch events.

        As an ex-engineer I wonder if they do an FMEA, design validation, Process FMEA etc. I am sure that if these fantasyland people had to do design FMEAs they would save a huge amount of money in all sorts of ways.

    7. Tobacco really can’t ruin lives as much as alcohol or gambling but hey it’s the EU so controlling people only comes naturally.

      1. The point is, tobacco smoke not only ruins your life and your family’s life, but tobacco smoke can ruin the lives of anyone you are even vaguely close to a good 10 minutes after you have smoked.

        1. Oh I see… As usual with self-righteous people it’s all right for you to pontificate… ;-)

        2. The world has bigger problems mate, smoking ain’t a big one.

          1. Tobacco kills more than seven million people each year.

    8. If Ferrari was actually forced to give up tobacco money when *every other team did* back in 2006, we probably would have gotten cost caps years ago.

      1. @kmccauley: Zing! Smoke if ya got ’em.

    9. I didn’t even know Mission Winnow was a PMI thing. Or, even what PMI was. This is coming from an ex smoker!

      Still, the EU are familiar with how a PsyOp works so they’re likely on to something. Whenever I see Mission Winnow, I’ll be sure to think of the abrasive throat hit of a Marlboro Red…

    10. It’s time for the EU regulators (and motorsports governing bodies) to give up the ghost and lift the restrictions. F1 has always had enough money around, but the elimination of tobacco sponsorship nearly destroyed MotoGP, and to this day the bike racing series are a shell of what they used to be.

      Eliminating tobacco sponsorship eliminated countless jobs in the racing industry, and severely impacted the salaries of those that were lucky enough to keep working. All of this so that some people, or some kids, might not be overly influenced by a name painted on a race machine? Was that really worth ruining peoples lives and gutting an entire industry (one of the few industries that hasn’t been moved to Asia yet)?

    Comments are closed.