Cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris has slammed reports that it will withdraw from its £45m-a-year Marlboro sponsorship deal with Ferrari, but has still not confirmed its long-term commitment to the sport.
The company said press reports which claimed it was pulling out of formula one racing because of the increasing compensation claims made by consumers in the US were inaccurate.
Chief executive Geoffrey Bible was reported to have said Philip Morris would only work on low-budget promotion to free up cash for legal disputes.
Ferrari formula one said it was unaware of any change in its sponsorship deal with Philip Morris. The tobacco company can use the cars to advertise its Marlboro brand on cars until 2006, according to EC tobacco laws.