Examination of Witnesses (Questions 840
THURSDAY 20 JANUARY 2000
MR B ECCLESTONE,
840 The point I am trying to make, perhaps I
am being a bit clumsy here, is that there does not appear to be
any action by the component parts of FIA activity to reduce their
dependency which could not have been made when the ban was first
(Mr Mosley) I do not understand the question.
By "component parts" do you mean the teams?
841 Yes; individual teams. You negotiated on
behalf of the industry, which included the teams, that you needed
time to get your house in order, get less dependent and fine,
the teams are as dependent or some of them more dependent on tobacco
(Mr Mosley) You must try to understand
that these teams are independent businesses which are run under
the laws of the land for profit. They operate within a regulatory
system which we impose for motor sport and under the general law
of the land. You cannot expect them, unless you can give them
a good reason to do so, to do anything more than the law requires
them to do.
842 Why then do you think, are you confident,
that in 2003 the individual components of your sport are going
to be less dependent on tobacco advertising than they were in
(Mr Mosley) I am confident that if this
is what the law requires they will do it, yes.
843 They could have done it in 2001.
(Mr Mosley) No, it does not follow. You
cannot say that because somebody can do something in 2003, therefore
ipso facto they can do it in 2001. That is an absurd argument;
I am sorry, but it just does not follow. It is quite difficult;
it is a long-term process. You are talking about big sums of money
which they have to raise and you cannot expect them to change
direction over night.
844 We have accepted that and that is why some
people reluctantly, not myself but some people reluctantly went
along with the argument that you needed more time. You have demonstrated
that you do not actually know the dependency of individual teams
and we have heard of major new sponsorship being put in by tobacco
companies buying existing teams. That clearly is against the arguments
you are putting forward for putting off a ban specifically for
(Mr Ecclestone) I am quite sure you have
researched this thoroughly. If you look at your papers, if you
read them, you will see quite clearly that the Williams team no
longer has tobacco sponsors. You have got that there obviously.
Or are you only worried about one team which is partly owned by
a tobacco company?
845 I am using British American Racing as an
example of the dependency.
(Mr Ecclestone) It is a bad example,
is it not?
Dr Brand: It is a fairly stark example.
846 In a sense it is a pity you were not in the
previous session where we were listening to the advertising strategies
to get round the ban, particularly as it relates to Formula 1.
All sorts of interesting initiatives had been put forward to dodge
this ban. It really is a pity you did not pick up those points
because they related directly to the area which Dr Brand is discussing
at the moment.
(Mr Mosley) The difficulty we have is
a very simple one. The two things which constrain the teams or
anyone are the law and the regulations which we can legitimately
introduce, which are of course limited, and persuasion. If we
want to persuade them we need to have evidence. We asked and tried
to set up this inquiry but we are still waiting, having contacted
everyone we could think of, for enough evidence to demonstrate
the thing which is probably demonstrable if somebody would take
it seriously. In the end somebody needs to know why young people
take up smoking, somebody needs to know why young people take
up drugs. The teams say to me that young people seem to take up
drugs in large quantities without much advertising, so what evidence
is there? At the moment I am sitting here waiting for the evidence;
lots and lots of argument but no evidence. If I could prove it
to the teams, I could talk them into doing it.
847 Perhaps our inquiry might be of some assistance
when we make our report.
(Mr Mosley) It may well be.
848 These tobacco companies are putting in £200
to £300 million. Obviously they are getting something out
of that. They are not doing it as a whim. Their aim is to sell
their product. This has to be the case, otherwise they would not
do it. It is to persuade people. Even though you say you do not
have the evidence that it encourages young people to smoke, I
would say that because of the glamour side of Formula 1, because
of the excitement, macho image, all of those, and lots of young
people under 16 love and watch Formula 1 racing, they are involved
in it, I would say that does influence them; the images and glamour
of it. We have one quote here, a particular cigarette advertisement.
It is for anyone who can see himself as a racing driver, the dreamers
of the world. This was a survey amongst 11 to 14-year-olds. I
would say there is evidence that images do persuade them to think
smoking is a good thing and if they take it up they will be like
a racing driver. Even given this lack of evidence about making
young people take up smoking, we do know that 120,000 people each
year die of smoking related illnesses. I would have thought that
was enough evidence for the industry to try to discourage tobacco
sponsorship. I am glad to see there is a trend, possibly because
of the future ban, away from tobacco company sponsorship, even
on a fairly small scale. How easy is it or will it be to find
major sponsors? You said some of the motor companies are coming
in. Will they replace that money?
(Mr Mosley) The answer is that one could
certainly, eventually, foresee the money coming from other sources.
If the directive survives, which it may not do, but if it does
survive in the EU then it will probably sort the whole thing out.
The fundamental difficulty is this. Everyone says the tobacco
industry would not spend this money, which is really what you
were saying, unless they were getting something very good in return.
Therefore this must be to do with selling their product. That
is absolutely true. The problem we have is that the tobacco industry
sayand we risk getting into detail here but the broad pointit
is nothing to do with persuading new people to take up smoking,
that happens for other reasons. This is about getting them to
move from one brand to another. I am sure you are familiar with
the argument. There is some evidence for that. If you look at
Philip Morris, nobody smoked Marlboro cigarettes in Europe before
1965. One man turned up, somebody called Walter Thoma, started
selling them in 1965 and by the time he retired as the head of
the industry in this area one cigarette in three in the EU was
a Marlboro cigarette, but the total consumption had shrunk and
that was based on motor sport. Therefore people will say to me
that was entirely moving people from one brand to another, young
people take up smoking for other reasons. This is the argument.
That was precisely the question we wanted to investigate.
849 You are talking about the power of a huge
amount of money and a huge amount of advertising. Quite honestly
it defies logic that if you are losing 120,000 people each year
to smoking-related illnesses they have to be replaced. We have
heard this morning from the advertising companies that they target
adult smokers. We just do not think that is possible. If you are
targeting the images of Formula 1 for instance, and you say you
are targeting 18-year-olds or 16-year-olds, there is fallover
into the younger age groups; you cannot protect children against
(Mr Ecclestone) You quoted an advertisement
just now. What was the tobacco company?
850 It was a survey which was done amongst youngsters
on recognition of advertisements.
(Mr Ecclestone) You said something about
you can be a racing driver if you smoke or something.
851 They did a survey of children about recognition
(Mr Ecclestone) Is that what they thought?
852 Yes. These were the various responses to
the adverts. It was an aspirational thing. You could become that
person, that driver.
(Mr Ecclestone) I was asked by somebody
yesterday to speak to two 16-year-old girls from a school who
were more or less writing a thesis on Formula 1 for the school.
They came to me with some very good questionsbetter than
most of the journalists actually. One of the questions was about
tobacco. Obviously I knew how old they were. I said they obviously
followed Formula 1 because they seemed to know more about it than
I did. They confessed that they did follow it. So I asked when
they started smoking and they said they did not smoke. I said
I was sorry but they must smoke if they watched Formula 1; obviously
they had seen the advertisements so they had to smoke. They said
they did not smoke.
853 There are other factors, of course there
are. May I ask you whether you would prefer it if Formula 1 teams
did not have tobacco sponsorship, given that you know about the
health risks of smoking?
(Mr Ecclestone) If somebody proved to
me that this actually started young children smoking, I would
certainly, with Mr Mosley, campaign for the teams to find a way
to get the much needed money elsewhere.
854 Let us hope our report will give you that
(Mr Ecclestone) It would be nice to get
it because apparently nobody has given it so far.
855 You raise an interesting point. Do you think
that your industry is governed by morality or should it be regulated
by law as far as advertising and sponsorship is concerned? I find
it slightly strange that you as individuals want to have the evidence
and be convinced, more so than anyone else in the country.
(Mr Ecclestone) Are you saying all other
people are quite happy to run their business based on morality?
856 No. You seem to be implying that you uniquely
as a business want to have the moral argument before you take
(Mr Ecclestone) It is a bit difficult
to ask somebody to put their team in certain difficulty because
someone has said this is what happens.
857 I do agree with you that perhaps the greatest
benefit to the tobacco companies of advertising is brand switch.
I also take the view that they do have to recruit young smokers
to replace the ones who fall of the end at the undertakers year
by year. At the Melbourne press conference, Mr Mosley, you expressed
the view, as you have said here today and the tobacco companies
have said, that it does not encourage young people to take it
up, it is brand switch. However, you did announce then that you
were setting up an independent inquiry, which you would appoint,
which would be judged by an independent assessor and that if it
can be shown that tobacco logos appearing in Formula 1 cause people
to start smoking, the case for the total elimination of tobacco
sponsorship would be overwhelming. May I ask you the current status
of that review, whether you have appointed the independent assessor
and if so, who it is and what are his or her qualifications? What
evidence have you received? Will you be publishing that evidence?
When will you reach your conclusions?
(Mr Mosley) Firstly, we wrote to the
Minister of Health in each of the countries where there is a Grand
Prix. We wrote letters to the World Health Organisation, to the
World Bank in December, giving a deadline of 1 July 1999 for receipt
of the evidence and we also placed an advertisement in the Economist
in January 1999. Of the governments to which we wrote, I can tell
you the British Government did actually reply. From all those
letters we received replies from the UK Government, the German
Government, the Argentine and Canadian Governments as well. Of
the 14 governments those are the only ones. The European Commission
wrote back; the World Health Organisation and the World Bank wrote
back. The World Health Organisation referred us to a report from
the World Bank as being the most authoritative. We wrote to the
World Bank and asked for that report. They sent us the report
and acknowledged in the letter that it said nothing about the
issue and referred us back to the World Health Organisation. We
also received evidence from Action on Smoking and Health, from
the German cigarette manufacturers' association, the University
of Manchester, which had the one bit of actual research in it,
which was very good, the University of Otago in New Zealand. All
of this took until after 1 July. We quietly forgot our deadline
because we are still trying to get answers from some of the governments.
In the meantime Padraig Flynn who was then Health Commissioner,
made a speech in which he said there was scant evidence. So if
we submitted the evidence we have to anybody at the moment, they
would just say there is not enough evidence there. I rather agree
with Mrs Gordon that instinctively you feel that it must have
an influence, even though we see all sorts of things like soft
drugs which people take up without any glamorous advertising and
so on. But before we can do anything as an organisation we really
have to have some evidence. You see the morality point, and Dr
Brand makes that very well, but I have to say in my defence that
every single member of the Committee has voted in favour of the
998 million ecus EU subsidy in the EU for growing tobacco by the
mere fact of allowing this through the House of Commons. That
is inescapable. Please do not let us get into the morality debate
because we are all equally guilty, in fact I would submit the
Committee is in a weaker position than I am because you could
do something and I cannot.
Chairman: I think we might be trying to do something.
Mr Gunnell: What burden of proof would you require
to establish your link? Would you say it has to be established
beyond reasonable doubt? Would you go on the balance of probability?
Or would you take the view which ASH took in their submission
to you that you take the precautionary approach and that that
should be used in regulations where the consequences of being
wrong were very serious and where the evidence was very complex?
That seemed to be the approach they would recommend and on that
approach I think you would establish such a link.
Mr Austin: I appreciate the difficulty you have
had. I would have thought that advertising in some journals other
than the Economist might have produced better results. Clearly
you have had a response from one or two academic institutions.
I am wondering whether, in view of the difficulties you have had,
you would be prepared to commission independent research into
858 Mr Ecclestone, you are nodding, so presumably
(Mr Ecclestone) Absolutely.
(Mr Mosley) If we could see some means of achieving
an objective, certainly we would. Obviously the first place you
start is by asking all the people who have been doing research
into these issues for many, many years. That is what we have done,
but so far without overwhelming success I have to say. In response
to Mr Gunnell's question, I think what we have said is that we
wanted clear and convincing evidence, but the fact of the matter
is that if somebody looked at it and saw that on the balance of
probability we were having a noticeable effect on smoking, I do
not think any of the teams would want to continue at that point.
That is the situation. This is in no sense a British issue because
we do not actually show the logos in the UK, as you know, but
you have this feeling that in most places, even in the EU, most
of the EU governments cannot even be bothered to answer. It is
a little bit difficult for me to take a great moral stand when
I have not even had an answer from the Minister of Health in the
EU countries to which I have written, with one or two exceptions.
859 I understand that but if you look at the
submission you have received from ASH, I think their case for
adopting the precautionary principle is a sound case.
(Mr Mosley) We have had some interesting
talks with the Minister of Health in Australia, who really looks
after these things for the whole of South East Asia made a point,
quite a good point. He said we were going at this the wrong way.
He said the product is dangerous, therefore the onus should be
on the other side to demonstrate that it does not do any harm,
not for those who wish to stop it to demonstrate that it does.
There is a lot of force in that point. The difficulty is that
we are dealing with commercial entities whom I have to persuade.
If I could just say that is it and dictate, but I cannot. We can
on the rules, on things like safety, but we cannot on things which
would interfere with their commercial affairs. We have to carry
them with us.
Mr Gunnell: I think you have made your position