With brands like JPS, Rothmans, Camel, and Lucky Strike, tobacco companies used to be the biggest sponsors in Formula One. That era has long since ended, replaced by banks and energy drinks.
But its demise doesn’t seem to be of much concern to Scuderia Ferrari and Philip Morris International, which have announced an extension of their long-term partnership.
Through its Marlboro brand, the tobacco company has shared a long relationship with the Scuderia that stretches back nearly five decades.
Marlboro first started sponsoring Ferrari back in 1973, ramping up over the following decades until it became the team’s principal sponsor in ’93. The Italian squad changed its official name to Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro after the brand left McLaren in ’97. But the escalation reached its plateau in 2006, when tobacco advertising in sports was banned across Europe.
Philip Morris and Ferrari found increasingly obscure ways to keep some semblance of the logo on the car, but finally gave up the ghost in 2011 when they officially dropped Marlboro from the team’s name.
That doesn’t seem to have actually put much distance between the two, though. In 2015, Ferrari brought Maurizio Arrivabene over from Marlboro to run the Scuderia, and signed an extension of the partnership between the two companies. Now less than three years later, they’ve extended it again.
Just what that entails hasn’t been made public. But at this point, it may come down to little more than corporate hospitality at races and discounted cartons of smokes for workers in Maranello. The exact nature and particulars of the deal, though, may be known to only a handful of executives and contract lawyers at the two companies.