Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 860 - 879)

THURSDAY 20 JANUARY 2000

MR B ECCLESTONE, AND MR M MOSLEY

Audrey Wise

860  A very brief point for clarity. All the emphasis has been on evidence about it encouraging people to start smoking. What about the constant images relating to tobacco making it harder for people to give up smoking?

  (Mr Mosley) Is there any evidence? I do not know. It would be interesting if there were.

861  Are you interested in that as well?

  (Mr Mosley) Very much so.

862  We have not mentioned it either. I do not want it to go by default because I think it is a very valid point. If you were commissioning research or anything, it should be the twofold side.

  (Mr Mosley) We believe there are two aspects to this if one is serious about wanting people to stop smoking. There is the question of persuading people who smoke already to give up and there is the question of persuading people who do not smoke, not to start. I have always assumed, but this is anecdotal, that among the people who actually smoke, the overwhelming majority want to give up; it is just that they find it difficult. I have never seen it as a problem persuading people who smoke to wish to give up; the difficulty is then being able to do so. Perhaps there is a point that if they did not see any advertising at all, they might find it easier to give up. Perhaps this may also apply to drugs.

Dr Stoate

863  From what you have said to us, I think you genuinely seem to be trying to reduce the reliance on tobacco advertising in the sport. I welcome that. What you said about offering to help sponsor research would be very welcome indeed. Therefore I should like you to comment on one of the submissions we had from the advertisers whom we interviewed before you and that was the feeling we got that some of them were quite cynically trying to exploit the rules, push the envelope as far as they possibly could to get away with it. I will give you some examples. One quote, "This is to confirm that we (B&H account team) have asked Noel to come up with some implicit branding options for the Jordan team Formula 1 cars to the French Grand Prix. The reason being that all cigarette branding must be removed". Another one, "We feel if we can legally say the word `Special F1' then we could utilise the area behind the driver's head ... to attempt to get a little closer to more `overtly' implying the brand on the car. Do you think we could get this past the various legal bodies? If Rothmans can get away with `Racing' in the brand type face, I think we may have a case". Another one, "We wonder if you could slightly corrupt the Jordan logo to include a large `ampersand?'", the message being that would be recognised by people as implicitly a B&H logo. If the advertisers are trying to do that, what would be your comments, if you are trying to reduce reliance? What would be your comments on the advertisers and some of the tobacco companies desperately trying to find a way round them?

  (Mr Ecclestone) Firstly, they could not use the words "Formula 1" in the way they have proposed. That is the first thing. They probably do not know that. Eventually the team would probably tell them that they cannot.

864  What do you think about the principle of these firms who are desperately trying to find all sorts of bizarre ways, perhaps not even legal ways, perhaps they would be thrown out, but they are attempting to find all sorts of ways around it? What do you feel about that as a principle?

  (Mr Ecclestone) I would put them in touch with our tax lawyers who are constantly doing exactly the same thing with tax. Legally, but to push the envelope.

865  I just want to know what your views are about the principle.

  (Mr Mosley) It is inevitable.
  (Mr Ecclestone) That is the principle: people will push.

866  Do you think it is acceptable, or do you think it is something you would like to fight against?

  (Mr Ecclestone) We would stop them as much as we could stop them.

867  So you would do your best to prevent them doing this type of thing.

  (Mr Ecclestone) Absolutely; one hundred per cent.
  (Mr Mosley) Let me give you an example. British American Racing was raised earlier on, who make tobacco products. They had this wonderful new idea where they said they were going to have one car with one sort of branding and a completely different product on the other. It was going to be Lucky Strike on one and 555 on the other. We were able to bring in a rule to stop that. We were then challenged. It is the first time there has ever been an arbitration under our agreement which has been going for 20 years with the teams. We had a massive arbitration which cost £1 million, we had all the leading silks there and I am happy to say we won. We said we were not going to proliferate the branding. You will not have two different brands on the basis that the cars should look the same, like a team, otherwise we could have had 14 different cigarette brands all going round. We do as we can, but Mr Ecclestone is absolutely right, if you have laws, which there are in France, whereas in England it is a voluntary agreement in France it is a law, as soon as you have a law people will go as far as they can within the bounds of the law.

868  I accept they will try to do so, but would your response to that be to do what you can?

  (Mr Ecclestone) Absolutely.
  (Mr Mosley) Absolutely.

Mr Amess

869  Gentlemen, you are familiar with the Institute of Public Policy Research report on tobacco sponsorship of Formula 1 racing.

  (Mr Mosley) I cannot say it is fresh in my mind.
  (Mr Ecclestone) I am not.

870  Mr Ecclestone, you are not familiar with this body, so you would not be able to help me as to whether or not any of your companies funded this report.

  (Mr Ecclestone) I am sure we would not have funded it.

871  You are sure that you would not have funded the report.

  (Mr Ecclestone) Absolutely.

872  Does the FIA own All Sports Management?

  (Mr Ecclestone) I do not know All Sports Management; I have never heard of All Sports Management.
  (Mr Mosley) No, FIA does not own commercial companies.

873  So All Sports Management is nothing at all to do with you.

  (Mr Ecclestone) It is nothing to do with our companies.

874  At the end of this report it says the study was made possible by generous grant from All Sports Management for which the Institute of Public Policy Research is grateful, but this is nothing at all to do with you.

  (Mr Ecclestone) Absolutely.
  (Mr Mosley) You said this was a tobacco report. This is the British motor racing industry.

875  Shall I start again?

  (Mr Mosley) Yes, because I think you gave it the wrong name.

876  You were not tuned in to what I was saying. Shall I start the question again?

  (Mr Mosley) Try again.

877  Gentlemen, are you familiar with the Institute of Public Policy Research report which was produced on tobacco sponsorship of Formula 1 racing?

  (Mr Mosley) There is a report on the British motor racing industry.
  (Mr Ecclestone) Not guilty.

878  Mr Ecclestone is not familiar, you are not familiar with it.

  (Mr Mosley) I am familiar with a report produced by this body, the Institute of Public Policy Research, on the British motor racing industry, which is a completely different thing. I think you have the title of the report wrong. I think the report you quoted does not exist and that is why none of us has heard of it. A small problem.

879  No, it is not a problem for me. All Sports Management is nothing at all to do with Mr Ecclestone.

  (Mr Ecclestone) Nothing at all.


 
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