F1 could keep tobacco advertising

FIA president Max Mosley has admitted that the sports governing body could reverse its decision to outlaw tobacco advertising by the end of 2006 - and has blamed the European Union's recent decision to introduce a ban on cigarette advertising by October 2005

F1 could keep tobacco advertising

Mosley said that the decision by the EU to bring forward the ban from the date originally agreed by the World Health Organisation could force F1 away from Europe to countries that haven't banned tobacco ads.

"Instead of having a worldwide ban in 2006, which everyone had accepted was going to happen, we're now virtually certain to see tobacco sponsorship in Formula 1 going on until all of us have lost interest," said Mosley.

"The teams all signed their contracts [with tobacco sponsors] to the end of 2006. We've now got the teams with contracts to 2006 and an EU ban from July 2005.

"The only way they can observe those contracts in 2006 is to reduce the number of grands prix in the EU to a point where the tobacco companies don't object."

The Belgian and Austrian races have already been dropped from the F1 calendar, to allow for new races in Bahrain and China, where tobacco advertising is legal. Mosley warned that there could be as few as six races in the EU by 2005, and fewer the following year.

"The worst this [about the EU ban] is that it is self-defeating because it still comes in on the television. Instead of having a worldwide ban and lots of races in the EU in 2007, they'll probably still have tobacco advertising in 2007 and they'll have damaged the local economy in several places in Europe and aggravated us."

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Mosley: F1 may Stay with Tobacco Sponsorship

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