Cigarette giant Marlboro looks set to extend its long-term sponsorship of the Ferrari F1 team, it has emerged.
The current multi-million-dollar deal runs out at the end of the 2011 season, but it is believed that negotiations to continue the sponsorship arrangement beyond the end of this season are far advanced.
An official announcement may be made as early as the launch date of the 2011 car on January 28, according to reports.
Despite the total ban on cigarette advertising being in place for some years, Philip Morris has had a continuous involvement in a naming rights sponsorship of the Ferrari team, although it is forbidden to run any logos referring to its products.
However, Ferrari came under fire for its running of a so-called ‘barcode’ logo in 2010, which Britain’s Royal College of Surgeons claimed was a form of subliminal advertising. Ferrari
pleaded guilty chose to remove the logos by mid-season – despite repeated denials that Philip Morris had any involvement with its F1 livery – and has now designed a new team logo for the 2011 car’s livery.
This year will mark Marlboro’s 40th anniversary of continuous F1 sponsorship, having debuted as a sponsor with the BRM outfit in 1971. Marlboro has also been a sponsor of teams such as McLaren and Alfa Romeo before it started its tie-in with Ferrari.