Raikkonen Leads McLaren into New Era

Kimi Raikkonen led McLaren into a new tobacco-free era with the quickest time in Saturday's final practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix

Raikkonen Leads McLaren into New Era

After an unbroken run of cigarette sponsorship going back decades, the former Champions finally kicked the habit before European legislation against tobacco advertising comes into force.

Finland's Raikkonen roared around the Hungaroring in a silver McLaren with his name painted on the side in place of the West cigarette brand. He was fastest in both sessions.

The Mercedes-powered team is due to unveil Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker whisky as a new backer, although not a title sponsor, later on Saturday.

Although West had been due to withdraw from Formula One anyway after a change of ownership, their departure was hastened by new legislation which enforces an EU directive outlawing all print advertising, radio advertising and event sponsorship by tobacco companies from midnight on Sunday.

However, nine countries have failed to implement the EU legislation, including Germany which opposes the ban and is challenging it.

The owners of Germany's Nuerburgring circuit are taking a parallel case against the restrictions in the EU's lower court.

Legislation in Britain could allow for prosecution of any British-based team such as McLaren if images of a race where tobacco sponsorship is carried are broadcast in the country.

Jordan, BAR, Renault and Ferrari continued to run with their tobacco branding on Saturday.

The Hungarian Grand Prix is sponsored by Phillip Morris brand Marlboro, who also back Ferrari.

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