Marlboro could quit formula one sponsorship in 2002

Marlboro may be forced to pull out of formula one sponsorship next year because of the burden of compensation claims from smokers and ex-smokers around the world.

Marlboro may be forced to pull out of formula one sponsorship next year because of the burden of compensation claims from smokers and ex-smokers around the world.

Philip Morris, the cigarette brand's owner, needs to free up most of the £45 million that the company ploughs into Ferrari every year.

Marlboro has sponsored the Ferrari racing team for 30 years with money that helps to pay Michael Schumacher's £20 million annual salary.

Geoffrey C Bible, the Philip Morris chief executive, told German magazine Focusi that the company would continue with only low-key sponsorships after 2002.

Under the EC clampdown on tobacco advertising, Philip Morris could continue to sponsor cars and drivers until 2006.