McLaren hit back after being accused of supporting ‘deadly’ business

McLaren have fired back at critics over a controversial partnership that is under the spotlight ahead of the 2023 Dutch GP.

McLaren have jumped to the defence of sponsor Velo, after three big health organisations in the Netherlands filed a complaint against the team ahead of next weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix.

Velo is a product of the British American Tobacco, who the Woking-based team have been in partnership with for five seasons.

Velo, is the company’s attempt at moving away from traditional tobacco, with the product being, according to their website, ‘100 percent tobacco-free nicotine pouch that offers a nicotine hit anytime, anywhere, a great alternative to traditional smoking.’

Whilst it might be a tobacco-free product, it’s been banned in the Netherlands since April over health concerns.

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McLaren most recently had the Velo logo on their sidepods at the British Grand Prix, where Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri finished second and fourth.

Due to Velo being tobacco-free, it is allowed in Formula 1 as it doesn’t technically break the sport’s ban on tobacco advertising.

Nevertheless, three big health organisations are set to file a complaint to the Advertising Code Commission, insisting that McLaren are banned from advertising the product at Zandvoort.

The three companies are the Dutch Heart Foundation, KWF cancer fund, and the Lung Fund.

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“To sustain a sickening and deadly business, in our opinion, this is contrary to good taste and decency,” KWF director Carla van Gils told De Telegraaf.

Advertising expert Jan Driessen agrees with the complaints and believes that McLaren shouldn’t be allowed to advertise something which is banned in the country.

“If you know that the bags are not allowed to be sold in our country, you shouldn’t want to advertise them as an impactful brand.”

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McLaren have jumped to the defence of their sponsor though and have insisted that the products they advertise on their cars do meet the “regulatory requirements” in each country that hosts a race.

“All branding carried on McLaren race cars fully complies with regulatory requirements and advertising standards of each country we race in,” a McLaren spokesperson told

Given that the Dutch Grand Prix takes place just next weekend, the general belief is that it’ll be discovered very soon if McLaren are allowed to run Velo’s logo on their livery.