Inside Line: Win prizes sim racing with McLaren! Nicotine addicts only!

In what must be a rookie PR mistake or McLaren are really desperate and scratching the barrel to attract column inches for their partners as the age of lockdown has delivered almost zero exposure for Formula 1’s sponsors.

As a sim racer for the past two decades the boom times have me smiling, the penny finally dropped on the masses, and thus it was a pleasant surprise to receive the email announcing yet another sim racing initiative until one sentence popped out:


In other words, if you are not a nicotine addict or wannabe nicotine addict you cannot enter this Virtual Fan Race that the good folks at Woking thought was a brilliant idea.

Furthermore, what’s a “Virtual Fan Race? Think about it!

From whatever angle you look at it this is a ridiculous idea. Targeting +25-year-olds through simming with nicotine products is a novel approach, a first according to my records, but at the same time highly questionable on numerous levels and has all the makings of a marketing gaffe.

Whatever the case, it is out there and nicotine addicts (and/or aspiring ones) will be able to win prizes sponsored by Velo who trumpet themselves as “Nicotine Solutions for a No Limits Lifestyle.”

And add with pride: “Enjoy nicotine wherever you go in life with Velo. Nicotine pouches and lozenges that can be used anywhere. No Hassles. No Tobacco Leaf. No Limits.”

Good to know they can be used anywhere… Think about it!

Target market? Obviously sim racers! So, you addicts with sim racing rigs go sign up here and do some hot laps for your kit>>>

We get it that times are tough at Woking, make that everywhere in the world except mask-making companies and bog roll producers I would imagine

But to come up with such an ill-advised, politically incorrect and outright dumb campaign could well be a first by the McLaren PR team but, at the same time, suggests a certain desperation to pacify partners at a time when the once mightiest team is shedding thousands of staff to ensure survival.

Is it a wickedly smart and cheeky PR move as no doubt they intended it to be?

Hardly! And the brainboxes at Woking really need to explain the rationale of luring nicotine addicts to play a racing game online at the exclusion of everyone else – namely, healthy people!

Is it only me or is this scam just wrong?