This year Ferrari have produced a fair number of shockers, but Saturday evening's announcement that the financially-strapped planning to persuade Valentino Rossi to switch from two wheels to four, had extended their partnership deal with Philip Morris International certainly took the prize for raising the greatest number of eyebrows in the shortest amount of time.
Not only did company president Luca di Montezemolo rather nonchalantly announce probably the largest sponsorship deal in the team's history - after all, why, given that tobacco companies have fewer marketing options than ever, would the annual value of Ferrari's red areas be considered less worthy than before? - whilst addressing the international media during an annual dinner, but did so in the immediate wake of a guilty verdict after legal proceedings were brought initiated by Italy's anti-smoking lobby.
So seriously did Ferrari take the judgement handed down by a Monza judge - although an appeal is expected - that all reference to their tobacco sponsor was removed post-haste, whilst media releases and bulletins showed just a red strip where just a day before the cigarette brand had been proudly inserted.
Of course, all manner of rumours surrounded the deal. Vodafone intended leaving the team at end-2006, said one source, whilst another suggested Rossi's fiscal expectations and the cost of his schooling as test driver had forced Ferrari to adopt the moral low ground. All well and good, but possibly the pending departure of the telecoms giant is not unrelated to the utter refusal by Ferrari to wean itself off the obnoxious brown weed after two decades of almost total addiction.