Thursday February 22nd, 2001
Ferrari's hopes of keeping Michael Schumacher with the team were boosted on Thursday when they announced that principal sponsor Marlboro had extended their sponsorship deal until the end of 2006.
The deal with Philip Morris, which owns the Marlboro brand, will ensure that Ferrari have the necessary funds to offer Schumacher a new deal when his contract expires at the end of the 2002 season.
"I am very pleased we can extend for several more years the successful collaboration with Philip Morris," said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.
The two companies have been in partnership since 1984 and will be together for another five years. Marlboro will leave Formula One at the end of the 2006 season, when tobacco advertising is banned from the sport.
Hans Fluri, president of Philip Morris' European Region, said: "We are absolutely delighted that we will continue the very successful relationship that Marlboro has enjoyed with Ferrari since 1984.
"We are extremely proud of our long-standing association with such a superb and outstanding company as Ferrari.
"In extending our relationship with Ferrari to 2006 we are mindful that the European Union wishes to phase out sponsorship activities by that date."
Ferrari will also take encouragement from the fact that teams sponsored by Marlboro have amassed 10 drivers' titles and nine constructors' championships.