European Union asks Ferrari to end sponsorship deal with Philip Morris
BRUSSELS -- The European Union's Health Commissioner has asked Ferrari to end tobacco sponsorship of their Formula One team, saying it undermined the goal to end cigarette advertising at sporting events.
Most countries that host races have a ban on tobacco sponsorship and most cigarette companies also appear to have withdrawn from Formula One advertising, EU health chief Markos Kyprianou said in a letter to Ferrari.
Ferrari's deal with tobacco giant Philip Morris until 2011 is the only visible exception to that, meaning cigarette advertising could still be seen in races outside the EU that are beamed back to Europe, he wrote.
"The resulting situation is not satisfactory as it undermines the objectives of the EU legislation," wrote Kyprianou.
"I am certain that finding alternative sponsorship will not constitute a great challenge for such a successful enterprise as Ferrari whose image would no longer be associated with a killing habit."
Kyprianou said he would work on ensuring the sponsorship ban was strictly followed in the EU and push for a suspension in countries that still allow tobacco advertising or do not enforce their bans.
He gave China, Japan, Bahrain and Monaco as examples and said he would talk to the Chinese government in early September.
"Of course the best solution would be that Ferrari and Philip Morris proactively decide to end the current sponsorship agreement immediately, a gesture that would be greatly appreciated," he wrote.