Philip Morris to renew sponsorship of Ferrari?

The whisper at the Wrooom skiing event in Madonna di Campiglio is that Philip Morris will renew its sponsorship of the Ferrari team when the current deal runs out at the end of 2011. It had been thought that the title sponsorship would pass to Santander, but it seems that Philip Morris decided against that and has managed to integrate the Spanish bank into the portfolio without giving up the title sponsorship. Although legally the team cannot use its Marlboro branding in many places (and in fact no longer uses it on the car) the team’s official name remains Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. The cars also feature a black and white bar code livery with red and white which research shows people still think of a Marlboro, even if there is no such branding.

Overt Marlboro sponsorship of the cars and drivers was due to finish at the end of 2006. The branding was used in some non-European races. Since March 2008, Philip Morris International (the international tobacco assets of the company) have been separate from the parent company Altria. This resulted in PMI changing some of its strategies and these days there is no use of the Marlboro name on the cars.

The company remains one of the oldest sponsors in F1, having first entered the sport in 1972 with the BRM team. That deal lasted for three years but without much success and in the final year of the contract Marlboro was also involved with Frank Williams’ Iso team. In 1974 Marlboro agreed a sponsorship with McLaren which continued with enormous success until 1996. Marlboro was also involved with a variety of other teams and drivers, including Ferrari. This deal began in the late 1970s) and gradually increased in size until 1997 when Marlboro decided to concentrate all of its resources on the Italian team. Joe Saward Blog

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