Well, I’m just glad they’re stopping tobacco advertising in F1. I’m fed up with switching from Camel to Marlboro to Lucky Strike to West, depending on who I support… I even had to give up and switch to Nicquitin patches when I supported Williams.

That’s a lie of course; nothing more than pure, lame sarcasm. It’s just that the constant idea that people are idiots ruled by pavlovian responses to advertising and branding is one that annoys me to seething point.

Advertising does work of course, or else brands wouldn’t fork out vast sums of money to fritter away on cars that go so fast you can barely see their logo. And admittedly people are often idiots too. (How else do you account for the frankly inexplicable popularity of Robbie Williams?)

But that doesn’t mean that there’s a massive fog of idiocy that gathers whenever people watch sport and forces them into taking up smoking or switching their zombie-like allegiance from brand to brand.

Philip Morris, the owners of Marlboro, have apparently decided that the Ferrari red is now synonymous with Marlboro and so plan to continue spending a huge amount of money on the team even if they can’t show their logo, possibly moving towards a red car devoid of other logos.

It was this extraordinary strategy – and presumably a hefty and secure financial commitment behind it – that led Ferrari into allowing Vodafone (who would gladly have been their title sponsor) to part ways with them and leap into the arms of Ron Dennis and McLaren.

Already Ferrari often replace the Marlboro wordmark with a bunch of anonymous blocks, and McLaren used to replace the West wordmark with the drivers’ perfectly fitting names (possibly the only remotely fathomable reason for having Montoya in the team).

Even further back, McLaren used to replace Marlboro with the word McLaren in the same typeface: very cheeky and a pretty effective trick on anyone without 20/20 vision.

But will the ‘non-Marlboro’ Marlboro Ferrari be worth it for Philip Morris? I have my doubts: Ask most people why a Ferrari is red and they won’t stroke their chins and say, “Ah… this is of course because red is the primary swatch in the brand palette for Philip Morris’s Marlboro cigarette line…” No, they’ll look at you as if you’re an imbecile having a particularly stupid day and say, “Because it’s a Ferrari of course… Durh!”

Probably the main group of people who actually would know the answer are already F1 fans and already committed to either smoking or not smoking: You can’t help wondering if it’s not like burning money. Sponsorship, like smoking, can be a very expensive habit.