Where is my Marlboro ?


This weekend the Historic Grand Prix was at Circuit Zandvoort. A weekend with screaming V10s, mourning 500cc Norton and Jap engines. The brutal LeMans classics, the sound of pre-war roaring Grand Prix cars. The perfect weekend. However, there was one thing that bothered me from the moment I entered the pits complex and saw the John Player Special Lotus 77 and the Marlboro M23 cars. Where is the tobacco sponsorship? Where is my Marlboro?

I kept on asking myself from that point where is my Marlboro. No, I don’t smoke cigarettes or shag. What I do smoke are cigars, though for many that seems to be some weird place for elite people. Can’t disagree in some sense as the Tobacco prices get taxed over and over. Cigars seems to get only more expensive with cents not with hard euros.

The Lotus 77 catches my eyes as first. The car had John Special on the rear wing and sidepods. Special was censored with a piece of black duct tape; clearly, you could still see Player. My first reaction was this had something to do with restriction in the UK or other countries. AS most of the Formula One car at the circuit come from the UK. Perhaps it was the tobacco regulations in other countries as well. Since Europe decided that tobacco sponsoring is forbidden.

As far as my knowledge goes this did not count for Historical events. Such as the Historical Grand Prix in Zandvoort this weekend. Because the tobacco sponsorship played a huge role in the Formula One. I would know soon that I was completely wrong. I asked one of the mechanics from Britec Motorsport why player was covered with duct tape. He told me that the Dutch government forbid tobacco sponsoring even during the Historical Events.

I was flabbergasted. Doing a quick google search I found out that my government did forbid any form of tobacco sponsoring, even for historical events. Why?  I mean, do you really start smoking if you see John Player Special, Marlboro, Embassy etc. on the car? Do you really start smoking Drum or any other shag when you see Rizla on the Hesketh? As far as I know, you could change brands because of it. Some of you will complain that smoking kills and vaporise your lungs. I still think that this is something anyone should decide for him or herself. I mean getting drunk seems not to be a problem at all!

However, don’t you agree we should not alternate the history of our sport? Tobacco sponsoring has, and still plays, a huge role. I don’t understand how people get intimidated when they see a tobacco brand. It is part of the sports history. We should not erase it. We should embrace it as it made Formula One what it is today. Funniest part, when you went downtown Zandvoort on all advertisement you could see Marlboro, John Player Special and so on. That seems to be fine..

Where is my Marlboro? I was lucky to see Marlboro and John Player Special to appear eventually on the Lotus 77 and McLaren 23. It was in the late Sunday afternoon. Still It made my day. I’m gonna light up another cigar, and enjoy this amazing weekend where I did meet a lot of amazing people and enjoyed a lot of historical motorsport. I had goose bumps all day long on my arms!