August 07, 2003

Canada off the 2004 Formula One Calendar: It happened to Belgium and now it's happening to Montreal. Anti-tobacco legislation is driving F1 of its traditional stronghold markets. The hubris displayed by the controller of the sport, Bernard Ecclestone, looks like it might send F1 's popularity in Europe down the crapper, especially with his constant threats to the British GP.

The Belgian government is scrambling to get SPA back on the F1 schedule. But with the Canadian government not batting an eye as the Players racing program is shut down, ending a driver development program that has produced the likes of Jacques Villeneuve and Patrick Carpentier. So hopes for the future of the Canadian Grand Prix look rather dim.

So the question is, do you know of anyone who started smoking because of a logo on a race car?

posted by Space Coyote to other at 06:16 PM - 10 comments

Ridiculous. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one of the best on the circuit. F1 is seriously in danger of cutting it's legs from under it. A continuing failure to get to grips with the problem with the racing - aerodynamics that make overtaking impossible under normal conditions - and consistently ignoring the fanbase that made F1 what it is today. The fans will tolerate a few circuits off the beaten track, like Malaysia. They will not tolerate losing Silverstone, Spa and Montreal in favour of Turkey, China and Bahrain. Combined with the financial woes of CART, this is a pretty bleak time for motor racing fans. NASCAR and the IRL are nothing outside the USA, and long may that remain the case.

posted by salmacis at 06:47 PM on August 07, 2003

SC: If only one person in the entire world does not start smoking because s/he missed an advert, then the ban is worthwhile.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:29 PM on August 07, 2003

SC: If only one person in the entire world does not start smoking because s/he missed an advert, then the ban is worthwhile. That 'if only one' reasoning always makes me cringe. So since that one kid got clocked with the hockey puck we should ban hockey too I suppose. The economic impact to the city of Montreal, and the resulting taxes that are collected could easily make up for any health costs caused by people who may choose to start smoking because of some logo. This isn't hurting the tobacco companies, they'll come up with some other way to advertize, it's just going to hurt the host cities. Hopefully when the EU brings in their tobacco ban things will be a little more sane, but as it stands this is just stupid.

posted by Space Coyote at 08:39 PM on August 07, 2003

the resulting taxes that are collected could easily make up for any health costs caused by people who may choose to start smoking because of some logo If you start smoking, you're putting my life in danger. That's why some of us have NO sympathy for tobacco users or their companies. Your (generic smoker) little habit has killed innocent people and it will continue to do so until we start putting up a stand against thise companies. If the worst thing that happens from taking a step toward a cigarette free existance is the loss of a few car races, I say do it. I like F1 racing, however I like being able to breathe more.

posted by therev at 10:56 PM on August 07, 2003

therev: you don't seriously believe the dangers of second hand smoke are worth getting that worked up over, do you? Do you live in a city with any kind of traffic? Congratulations, you're getting hurt much more by than that by someone lighting up near you, especially given that you can't smoke inside without a fume hood these days.

posted by Space Coyote at 11:14 PM on August 07, 2003

(yes smoking is bad and we should ridicule and emonize smokers until they all drop dead like we want, but this isn't going to be much of a help.)

posted by Space Coyote at 11:15 PM on August 07, 2003

Sad. I guess Montreal still has CART, though that's not much of a trade-off. And with Players pulling out, you have to wonder about the future of CART in Canada. In the end, I find this whole thing silly. Here are cars that produce loads of noxious fumes not being able to race because a few tobacco company logos adorning the vehicles might cause people to take up smoking. Meanwhile, as long as cigarettes aren't involved, they can still race in events sponsored by purveyors of alcoholic beverages because, you know, drinking and auto racing go hand in hand! sigh.

posted by mkn at 05:06 AM on August 08, 2003

Geez - therev - I really hope you live a totally clean existence to lob that kind of vitirol at smokers. If saving lives is your bag, then we need to take a close look at cars, energy, guns, alcohol and, oh yeah, what's that? Free will. Smoking isn't going to end with the death of its advertising - and in Canada, tobacco advertising is already far more heavily regulated - no TV, no NSP - magazine only and sponsorship (up until this year) - but it does have an impact (It's less about generating smokers, than luring smokers to your brand). However, it's going to take a change in social attitude (which I see, is clearly coming). 30 years ago drinking and driving was socially considered to be OK, like speeding - society's attitude changed. Just as an aside - If I remember correctly, FI and CART got a few extra years to get their acts together in this country - All the major tennis tournaments, and some other sporting events were sponsored by tobacco, and they didn't go away. There are other sponsors beyond Phillip Morris. Like airlines... Oh, wait....

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:29 AM on August 08, 2003

Ecclestone is now putting the kybosh on the story, saying nothing has been decided. As a Montrealer, I would love to see the F1 get the boot: It's the worst weekend of the year, the city infested with idjits and Eurotrash with too much money and not enough brains. That being said: The federal governments would be inexcusably stupid to let the F1 get away. It's huge money for the local economy -- which, given the erosion of our industrial base, is now increasingly dependent on the tourists attracted by the summer festivals and the F1 -- and the city seems to enjoy it. (I'm in the curmudgeonly minority.) Anyway: recent studies question if these types of advertising do any good at all; the only thing that cuts into youth smoking rates is an increase in price.

posted by Cap'n Swing at 09:50 AM on August 08, 2003

Not even gonna go there on the social conscience argument, except to say if cancer is a major concern, lets try and clean up the many omnipresent carcinogens before we pick on smokers. Hell, I'm more worried about genetically modified (read: mutated) food than cigarette smoke. "...recent studies question if these types of advertising do any good at all." This test subject couldn't agree with that hypothesis any more. As a smoker, I'm more inclined to want a butt after a beer commercial than watching Joe Camel run around a race track. (aside: product recognition and product consumption are 2 completely different worlds, which can overlap, but are entirely different.) And what is F1 doing? What are governments doing? What the f is going on? Yes, healthcare costs are directly impacted by smokers, but has the correlation ever been made between smoking and ads. No, its merely assumed. And now millions are being rejected in multiple countries at a time when economies need a boost.

posted by garfield at 11:10 AM on August 08, 2003

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.