McLaren announces new partnership with British American Tobacco

McLaren Racing has announced a new long-term partnership with British American Tobacco, pledging to promote the company’s “portfolio of potentially reduced risk products”.

British American Tobacco was previously involved in Formula 1 from 1999 to 2005 as the owner of the British American Racing team (BAR) that transformed into Honda, Brawn, and now Mercedes.

Tobacco advertising has been banned in Formula 1 for over a decade but in a statement released on Monday, announcing the new deal, McLaren confirmed the partnership would focus on BAT’s “transforming agenda”.

It added that BAT is “aiming to deliver the world’s tobacco and nicotine consumers a better tomorrow” and will work to “deliver significant and meaningful change in the respective industries.”

“We welcome BAT to the McLaren team and support their ambition of delivering meaningful and lasting change through innovation,” said McLaren chief Zak Brown.

“BAT’s transformation agenda is central to this partnership and we are pleased to share our technical experience and expertise in helping to accelerate this.”

The only other team affiliated with a tobacco company is Ferrari, which has had a long-standing partnership with Philip Morris International.

PMI’s brands do not explicitly appear on the Ferrari liveries, though last October it launched its Mission Winnow project, with the style of the logo causing controversy through its similarity to previous Marlboro schemes.