Renault was lone tobacco team in Hungary

Wed, 9 August 2006, 05:01

A Renault spokesman has explained why it was the only tobacco-sponsored team at the Hungarian grand prix last weekend to wear its cigarette logos.

Keen-eyed observers noted that while Phillip Morris-backed Ferrari and BAT-funded Honda ran their unbranded liveries, Renault raced around the Hungaroring with the logos of Japan Tobacco’s ‘Mild Seven’ clearly displayed on the engine cover, side pods and front and rear wings.

Although local legislation allowed F1 teams to advertise tobacco on their racers in 2006, Hungary was last month implored by the ‘European Commission’ to fall in line with the continent-wide ban.

It was reported on Tuesday that, in 2007 and beyond, Hungary will indeed be a no-tobacco race, after non-compliant Germany was referred to the European Court of Justice.

The Renault spokesman explained that Ferrari and Honda simply ‘chose’ to exercise the right to run unbranded in Hungary.

”Our policy is always to respect local legislation,” he said.

”It happened in Spain earlier this year that we ran branded and other companies chose not to.”

The spokesman pointed out that, interestingly, Phillip Morris and BAT nonetheless used tobacco liveries for the Spanish MotoGP race.

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