Miami GP: McLaren introduce warning for major sponsor on car’s sidepod

The United States FDA prohibits teams from advertising tobacco and nicotine products without an accompanied warning.

Advertising plays a significant role in Formula 1 for every single team, with TV time being crucial to their sponsors being seen.

McLaren have clearly thought long and hard about how they can advertise a key sponsor of theirs at the Miami Grand Prix this weekend, whilst also warning fans of the dangers of using it.

One of McLaren’s leading sponsors is Velo, a modern oral nicotine product company that produces nicotine pouches, meaning it comes with significant risks.

As a result, McLaren have opted to include a warning above the bold sponsor on their sidepods, by printing onto the side of the MCL60: “WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”

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The team went viral on Friday after the warning was identified by fans, especially given how strict the United States are when it comes to advertising nicotine and tobacco products.

The United States FDA actually prohibits the advertising of tobacco and nicotine products by sports teams on their liveries, unless accompanied by a warning.

McLaren have done this before in IndyCar, where their sponsor VUSE had a similar warning message alongside it.

The sponsor warning at least took some of the attention away from what was a pretty miserable opening day for the Woking-based team at the Miami International Autodrome.

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Rookie Oscar Piastri found the opening day a challenge, with the Aussie having ended FP1 in P12 before falling to P16 in FP2.

Lando Norris actually found the opening session even more of a challenge and could only manage P16, before the Briton had a much stronger second practice session.

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The 23-year-old ended the opening day in sixth and just over eight-tenths behind Max Verstappen’s leading time, something which left the McLaren driver satisfied.

“It’s been a reasonable first day in Miami, I think we made a couple of small improvements between FP1 and FP2, which was good, hopefully we can try to go further in that direction for tomorrow,” Norris said after FP2, as per McLaren’s press release.

“As Friday goes, I’m pretty happy, I think we found a slightly better balance with the car. We are struggling in a few areas of the track, so we’ll focus on improving that, get a bit more confidence in the car and aim for Q3 in qualifying tomorrow.”