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 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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