Unrepentant BAT offers two fingers to EU in massive new formula 1 tobacco deal

Tuesday 02 December 1997

ASH/ Press releases/


102 Clifton Street, London EC2A 4HW Tel: (020) 7739 5902 Fax: (020) 7613 0531

Press release2 December 1997 ASH
Action on Smoking
and Health

Unrepentant BAT offers two fingers to EU in massivenew Formula One tobacco deal

Two days before European Governments meet to decide how best to take tobacco out ofsport, BAT has shown it has not yet adjusted to new realities and announced plans for anew Formula One team and a vast increase of Formula One sponsorship.

“This move is a crude denial of the new political and public mood against tobacco promotion. BAT has waved two fingers to those trying to do something about the half million people that die each year from tobacco-related disease in the European Union.” said Clive Bates, Director of ASH – Action on Smoking and Health.

ASH thinks it is outrageous to have such a huge expansion of Formula One sponsorshipwhen Governments are trying to deal with phasing tobacco money out of sport. All the leadtimes and phase-ins in the Directive will be there to deal with the practical problem oftransition – not to create a window for BAT to exploit and cause a massive sponsorshipexpansion.

Government position

Now that the Government is actively looking for a workable compromise on FormulaOne, the idea of a permanent exemption from the tobacco advertising Directive iseffectively dead. ASH is really delighted that the Government has made agreement to theDirective its over-riding priority – even if it has to soften its Formula One stance andto shift from its negotiating position set out on 4th November.

“If on Thursday we see the Directive agreed intact and a reasonably close end-date and phase-out plan for tobacco sponsorship of Formula One, it will be a triumph and we can quietly forget the Formula One wobble.” said Bates.

However, the fine print of the compromise could still thwart BAT’s ambitions.

“As a quid pro quo for any special treatment for Formula One, ASH believes the EU should prevent expansion of Formula One sponsorship above the level spent in the 1997 Grand Prix season. BAT’s attempt to engineer a huge injection of funds and make the replacement sponsorship problem worse should be stopped”, said Clive Bates.


Contact Clive Bates, Director (020) 7739 5902
Amanda Sandford, Communications Director (020) 7739 5902

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