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GP Week : Issue 81
F1 NEWS >> FERRARI and sponsor Phillip Morris International have responded to pressure from doctors and anti-tobacco lobbies and removed the controversial 'barcode' design from the side of its car. They had been accused of subliminal advertising. Ferrari reacted angrily to the claims -- suggesting that the barcode design was not copyrighted by Marlboro owner Phillip Morris and that it had chosen the concept alone. However, the bar code also featured on the Ducati MotoGP bikes too. Earlier last week, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo labeled any claim that the design was promoting Marlboro as "nonsense." Having removed the designs on Thursday ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, the team released this statement: "This decision was taken in order to remove all speculation concerning the so-called 'barcode' which was never intended to be a reference to a tobacco brand. "By this we want to put an end to this ridiculous story and concentrate on more important things than on such groundless allegations." In GP WEEK's opinion, as expressed in the editor's column last week, the allegations did have ground and their immediate removal reflects this. ... and erases barcode FERRARI was fined US$20,000 for releasing Fernando Alonso from the pits unsafely during qualifying. Nico Rosberg had to brake hard to avoid hitting the Spaniard. Operationally it was unusual as there seemed to be no Ferrari mechanic on hand in the pitlane to signal the coast was clear. Rosberg was straight on the radio, calling for a penalty. He told journalists afterwards: "It's a serious situation. There were some photographers standing there and if we collide, parts start flying and it's dangerous for them, very dangerous. I think it's correct that they got a fine and they need to do better next time. It's not good." However, GPWEEK wonders if a five or 10-place grid penalty would have been an automatic punishment -- had 150,000 Spanish fans not been arriving on Sunday. Still, it's right that the stewards should look at the bigger picture. Ferrari ned for pit error ... 9