Sponsor wants F1 clean-up

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The Independent Online
Walter Thoma, the president of the sport's biggest sponsors, Philip Morris Europe, warned yesterday that Formula One needed to take a new direction as it was in danger of becoming "less than a first-class sport." Thoma believes that the sport must rid itself of any "sleaze" or risk losing the interest of public and sponsors alike.

"Last year was very difficult for Formula One," Thoma said during the Monaco Grand Prix rest day. "The tragedies made us at Philip Morris take a fresh look at our involvement in motor sport''.

He said that after deciding to continue using the Marlboro cigarette brand as a major sponsor, Philip Morris were shocked to find that by mid- season, "accusations of cheating and sharp practice began to fly."

He said 1995 promised much, with breaches of rules to be dealt with severely. "But when, in the first race, the winner became the loser only to be proclaimed the winner again three weeks later, Formula One started where it had left off in 1994," he said.