Anti-smoking groups have hit out at Ferrari's decision to extend its sponsorship deal with the tobacco firm Philip Morris.

The Scuderia extended its agreement, which has run since the 1980's, last month in a deal that will run through until the end of the 2015 season.

It comes despite a ban on tobacco advertising and on the back of complaints last season that a barcode incorporated into the livery of its F10 challenger was a form of subliminal advertising. The barcode was removed from the car as a result of the complaints, despite Ferrari's denial that it was in any way linked into tobacco advertising.

While there is no tobacco branding featured on Ferrari's current F1 car, the team is entered into the world championship as Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and Professor John Britton - chair of the Royal College of Physician's tobacco advisory group and director of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies - has now argued that the deal is in breach of current EU laws.

"People are aware Ferrari is sponsored by Marlboro," he was quoted by the Guardian, "and the positive assets of the Ferrari team - things like danger and manliness - all translate to the brand."

The Guardian report, which also quotes Anne Edwards from Philip Morris as saying that the deal complies with all applicable laws, reveals that both the RCP and Action on Smoking have written to Jean Todt asking the FIA president to look into the deal.


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