The grand prix circus has until 2006 to find a new supply of sponsors - or
move to the Far East - after the European Union carried a motion to outlaw
tobacco advertising. The ban will come into force from 2001, although F1
has a stay of execution for a further five years.


The likelihood of the sport leaving European circuits has long been
threatened, despite team bosses believing that there is a ready supply of
alternative sponsorship available. Next season's F1 calendar could see as
many as three additional Asian races joining the established Japanese
event, in preparation for a wholesale move away from restrictive EU
legislation.


Losing tobacco sponsorship could make it harder for the teams to reach
current sponsorship targets, however, as the likes of Marlboro and Rothmans
(Winfield) pay over the odds to compensate for not being allowed to
advertise elsewhere. Teams will therefore need to cut budgets or find
greater amounts of sponsorship to cover the increasing cost of
development.

 

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