Last week's Formula One test session at the Barcelona circuit was remarkable for the amount of tobacco livery about the place. Both Ferrari and Renault sported fag colours in apparent conflict with European Law, which, as of August 1st last year, outlawed sponsorship of sporting, educational and cultural events and teams within the 25-country territory.
With EU law overriding legislative powers of individual member states, and Spain being very much one of the earliest signatories, there existed much confusion in and around the paddock. Dieter Rencken asked Gary Carey, head of sponsorship for British American Tobacco, whether the laws had changed during Formula One's winter break.
DR: Gary, you're here in Spain today, Wednesday, on the occasion of Honda's RA106 launch, which is sponsored by your Lucky Strike brand yet is sporting 'Racing Revolution' branding (in place of the tobacco brand), while bearing full allegiance to their tobacco sponsors. Has EU law changed? What is going on?
Carey: "The situation, with particular reference to this circuit, is that we are not allowed, through virtue of the EU legislation that came into force on July 31st last year, to brand in EU countries, and with Spain being within the EU means we can't brand (here).