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Brown defends BAT move

NEWS STORY
15/02/2019

While some still live in hope of a return to the 'good old days' of F1, the days of screaming V12s and snarling V8s, not to mention less aero and manual gearboxes, others are concerned by an altogether different element of the sport's past that appears to be creeping back in via the back door.

At the start of the week, McLaren announced a partnership with British American Tobacco (BAT), the company whose last involvement in the sport was the ill-fated British American Racing team - though not so ill-fated when you consider that over time it, and courtesy of many hundreds of millions of dollars it morphed into Mercedes.

"The multi-year partnership is centred on accelerating BAT's transforming agenda," declared the press release, "leveraging its portfolio of potentially reduced risk products, aiming to deliver the world's tobacco and nicotine consumers a better tomorrow."

Indeed, along with Philip Morris' awkward Mission Winnow rebranding at Ferrari, the BAT move is widely seen as a means of the tobacco giants sneaking back into the sport through the back door, just over a decade after they (and their money) were banned.

Speaking at the launch of his team's 2019 contender, McLaren boss, Zak Brown, defended the deal.

"BAT is an outstanding cooperation that has a long history in motorsports," Brown told reporters.

"Our partnership is one that is technically based with their newer generation products so we don't have any relationship with the tobacco side of the business," he insisted, a disingenuous comment since everyone knows what sort of products that are being promoted and why the tobacco companies are willing to spend big to promote them.

"I think their industry is one that is transforming," he continued, "it's technology driven and there are areas we can help them make the transformation journey around technology and they are a great company to be working with.

"Philip Morris have been with Ferrari for forever," he said, carefully ignoring the numerous McLarens sporting the iconic Marlboro livery that form the main focal point when arriving at his team's HQ, "and BAT has a great history in racing so they understand the power of it and as they move forward on their journey they field that McLaren is a partner they could help.

"The world evolves and changes daily, probably at a faster pace than ever. Their company has changed and has moved on and is moving into new areas and are looking to innovate.

"I think what took place 10, 15 or 20 years ago, the world is a different place," he concluded. "I think their landscape has changed and F1 is a good platform for them."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Editor, 17/02/2019 8:54

"@ ARL

Re that sponsor... years later it was one of the few subjects that could still cause John to get angry... that and a certain team owner. Or should I say former team owner."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by ARL, 16/02/2019 22:45

"The appalling cynicism of the industry to brazenly push tobacco sourced "potentially reduced risk products" would beggar belief if we had not seen their past behaviour in hiding evidence of the dangers of tobacco.

When Editor referred to a Surtees sponsor royally screwing the sport I thought of another that apparently never paid up for the season of sponsorship exposure they enjoyed......."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by GarH, 16/02/2019 19:29

"The anti-smoking lobby will be onto this nonsense already and governments will be forced to introduce rules forbidding this backdoor advertising. Farrari and McLiar have pushed this to the point that I expect PM will be stopped from their current involvement with Ferrari.

Is Zak Brown paid by the amount of waffle he produces?

"

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4. Posted by Mugmug, 16/02/2019 11:57

"I guess downright lying is (and continues to be) acceptable. Does Zak Brown really think people are that stupid?

As FQITW says Zak continues to talk and in the end says nothing at all."

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5. Posted by Oldbuzzard, 15/02/2019 17:14

"Its pure BS. Electric/vapor cigarettes is what BAT is pushing. The products contain nicotine plus many unnamed chemicals, flavorings and fragrances, just as the old tobacco-burning sticks did. It’s all bad news and should be banned from sponsoring anything. In the US, restrictions on vaping are growing all most daily across the individual states. I worked in the cigarette business for along time and know what I’m saying is true. Max Mosely’s statement about tobacco sponsorship not making people start smoking, only to change brands is partly true, but not 100%. The F1 involvement won’t last."

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6. Posted by @R1Racing71, 15/02/2019 12:09

"@Ed Ha, they were the days when motor racing was dangerous and sex was safe.
I’m sure Dr Mike has an opinion on those days and how sponsorship compares to this “Better Tomorrow”, let’s get him talking again shall we ;)
"

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7. Posted by Editor, 15/02/2019 11:59

"The sport and its fans is being so royally screwed at present that perhaps we should be looking at another former F1 sponsor… one of Team Surtees comes to mind, and I don’t mean Broke Bond Oxo or Matchbox."

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8. Posted by Max Noble, 15/02/2019 11:39

"I’m reminded of the Mighty Max Mosley (long May his name be aliterated) when he stated F1 never made any one smoke... only change brands. We miss that level of intellectual in F1... these days... it is all so... Super Bowl..."

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9. Posted by FQITW, 15/02/2019 10:35

"Move over Carey & Bratches.
There is a new king of talking 8oll0x.
Brown, as usual, manages to talk forever and yet say nothing at all.
"

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10. Posted by rosscogeo, 15/02/2019 10:35

"As far as I'm concerned any tobacco company should be banned from sponsoring any sports team in any way including vaping, including phillip morris being allowed to buy all of ferraris sponsor space on their car and sell it on to others "

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