Lewis Hamilton previews 2023 Miami Grand Prix
Eagle-eyed fans may have noticed an unusual warning on the side of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri’s McLaren cars at the Miami Grand Prix. That’s because their primary sponsor, Velo, has needed an added sticker in order to comply with local advertising regulations.
Velo is a company that produces nicotine pouches, and as a result a warning is required against the addiction nicotine can cause. That has seen McLaren put an extra sticker above their logo on the side pod reading: “WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical”.
Teams are prohibited from openly advertising nicotine and tobacco products on their liveries without an accompanying warning by the United States FDA. A similar sticker was used by McLaren when they participated in IndyCar with VUSE as their main sponsor in 2020.
Tobacco sponsors were once a major part of Formula 1, with Marlboro in particular becoming synonymous with the sport. However, the European Union decided to ban tobacco advertising in 2005 as the health risks of smoking became more well-known. The following year, there was a commitment by the FIA to do the same across motorsport.
DON’T MISS: Live coverage of the Miami Grand Prix weekend
But the recent growth of alternative oral nicotine products, such as those produced by Velo, have seen new sponsors enter the fold with McLaren needing to take steps to ensure they still comply with regulations at each race. Teams also find amendments have to be made for alcohol sponsors at some races.
With the new warning sticker on his car, Lando Norris clocked the sixth fastest time in second practice for the Miami Grand Prix. It was a step in the right direction for the Brit after a tough start to the season, whilst teammate Oscar Piastri was down in 16th place.
Speaking after second practice, Norris predicted “sketchy” track conditions will make for some tough racing on Sunday. “I mean, it’s better because it’s not coming up and breaking up,” he told Sky Sports F1. “But in terms of grip, it was still pretty low.
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“It’s getting better, I think it’s probably just never been used before. It’s been a lot better since this morning, probably a good few seconds.
“This morning was pretty sketchy though. On the first few laps, it was like: ‘Oh no, [this] seems a bit like last year’.
“But I think it’s just a much more usable surface. It just needs some running. I think the only tough thing is if you go a little bit off line, you’re probably in a wall somewhere so it’ll make racing quite tough on Sunday.”
Norris currently sits ninth in the world championship standings with ten points whilst Piastri is eleventh with four points to his name. The Miami Grand Prix takes place on Sunday at 8:30pm (BST).
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