Ferrari is set to lose its iconic sponsor Philip Morris by the end of the year, according to an Italian publication, La Gazetta dello Sport. The Maranello team’s 48-year-old partnership with the tobacco giant will end in compliance with laws in the European Union that do not allow advertising of cigarette brands, marking the end of an era and a winning partnership.
According to La Gazetta dello Sport, the net figure contributed by Philip Morris to Ferrari has been 125 million Euros every season. Since drivers are the highest paid personnel of an F1 team, Ferrari driver salaries were always paid by Philip Morris. Key team personnel in the top management, such as ex-team principal Maurizio Arrivabene and ex-Ferrari Group CEO Louis Camilleri, all ascended to the Maranello F1 team through the Philip Morris ranks.
La Gazetta dello Sport reported that Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto spoke about the partnership with Philip Morris after the Brazilian Grand Prix and said:
“The agreement will expire at the end of the year, but we are talking with Philip Morris. Relations are good and we will see how it ends in the coming months.”
Philip Morris’ branding ‘Mission Winnow’ on the Ferrari F1 car was hardly visible through the 2020 season, and there were rumblings in the paddock of the tobacco brand quitting from the 2019 season. While the brand diversified to non-tobacco products, its ability to advertise its products on F1 cars reduced due to various restrictions in various countries.
It has not been confirmed that Philip Morris has quit its alliance in all its entirety with the Maranello team. However, it is being speculated that the scarlet outfit could be negotiating more innovative partnerships in the future with the mammoth tobacco brand.
With budget caps in place for a maximum 145 million Euros expenditure for 2022 season, Ferrari will have to target larger sponsors with a higher spending capacity to make up the deficit after losing their iconic partnership with Philip Morris.
Philip Morris previously advertised Marlboro cigarettes when it collaborated with Ferrari for the first time in 1973. Since then, its brand presence with the iconic F1 team has evolved through the years, from the barcode branding on their last champion Kimi Raikkonen’s car in 2007 to the Mission Winnow statement on the cars now.
Ferrari currently are in third place in the constructor's championship with a comfortable lead over their rivals
With key sponsor Philip Morris ending their partnership with the Prancing Horse outfit, it is very important for the team to seal third place in the title, which entitles them to their fair share of prize money. Ferrari are currently in third place in the constructor's title with a 31.5 points lead over rivals McLaren.
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With three more races left on the calendar, the fight for third place could be contested closely if the momentum swings in favor of McLaren. However, if the current momentum and consistent performance streak continues, Ferrari could extend their lead over McLaren in the races to come.