May 14 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Tobacco giant Philip Morris has quietly extended its sponsorship deal with Ferrari, the Bloomberg news agency reports.
Even though the red F1 cars can no longer display a ‘Marlboro’ livery, or even include the cigarette brand’s name in Ferrari’s official title, the deal was reportedly extended for another three years.
Bloomberg said team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, formerly a Marlboro executive, confirmed the news, saying it was approved in a board meeting more than a year ago.
There was no public announcement, he added, but Philip Morris said by email that the deal was indeed extended beyond 2015.
The media report said Ferrari’s F1 cars today “feature a red-and-white square that resembles a Marlboro cigarette pack”, even though tobacco advertising is no longer allowed in the sport.
A business strategy expert said: “The synergies are unspoken and unpromoted but they are there.
“Just because you remove the brand it doesn’t mean people don’t see the link,” he added.
Philip Morris is the last tobacco company with any involvement in F1.