Team principal David Richards is concerned that BAR could be forced out of the UK due to anti-tobacco legislation. A European Union directive to be introduced in the UK in 2005 may mean that BAR is unable to advertise tobacco at any races....
Team principal David Richards is concerned that BAR could be forced out of the UK due to anti-tobacco legislation. A European Union directive to be introduced in the UK in 2005 may mean that BAR is unable to advertise tobacco at any races. Richards warned that British based McLaren and Jordan could also be under threat as they have tobacco sponsors. BAR is based at Brackley and is sponsored by British American Tobacco (BAT).
"You couldn't move the actual structure but you could move parts of the team abroad. I have spoken to the Department of Trade and Industry and they say this was not the intention when the legislation was drafted. It is the way it has been written which is so restrictive."
However, teams not based in the UK, such as Ferrari and Renault who are sponsored by Marlboro and Japan Tobacco respectively, will not be affected, as their countries have not adopted the law. "Ferrari are the best-financed team in F1, they are based in Italy and have an American cigarette sponsor and so they will be able to advertise in places like China," said Richards.
"But because we are a British team we will be covered by the British legislation so we would not be able to run tobacco advertising in China. The UK government should not countenance it and it's down to them to do something about it."
The situation could see BAR relocating to Japan: "Ideally, the future of BAR would be decided between me and Honda and that would keep the team based in the United Kingdom. But if BAT are not given reasonable time to work with me to find alternatives then the whole thing would go to Japan within a year."