McLaren have been targeted by three big health foundations in the Netherlands ahead of next weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix, over their sponsor Velo.
Velo is a nicotine-based company which produce ‘snus’ products, which is a powdered alternative of tobacco which the user holds between their lips and gums in a moist pouch containing nicotine.
This type of product is banned in the Netherlands and in the United Kingdom, in fact it’s banned all over the European Union with the exception of Sweden.
McLaren have been partners with the creators and sellers of Velo – the British American Tobacco – for the past five years, with Velo and Vuse branding having often been seen on the Woking-based team’s livery.
Velo and Vuse branding is often seen on the sidepods of the papaya livery, as recently as the British Grand Prix where Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri finished second and fourth.
Velo branding is allowed in F1 due to the product being tobacco free, meaning it’s not banned under the sport’s tobacco advertising ban.
The Lung Fund, KWF cancer fund and The Dutch Heart Foundation all want to see Velo branding banned at Zandvoort and are taking their case to the Advertising Code Commission, according to De Telegraaf and the NL Times.
The country does have an ethos regarding advertising, which states that advertising ‘isn’t allowed to encourage behaviour that is harmful to health’.
This ethos is set to be at the heart of the three organisations case, which will presumably be heard before the Grand Prix takes place.
KWF believe that McLaren are supporting young people becoming addicted to the “sickening and deadly” tobacco industry by promoting Velo and Vuse, something they don’t think should be allowed at Zandvoort.
“The Velo branding on the McLaren car shows that the tobacco industry is doing everything in its power to get young people addicted, to sustain a sickening and deadly business,” KWF director Carla van Gils told De Telegraaf.
“In our opinion, this is contrary to good taste and decency.”
Whether Velo branding will be banned from the Dutch GP is yet to be discovered, although with the race being next weekend a verdict will presumably be heard soon.