Way back in December 2017, TJ13 predicted that Ferrari would be racing with Marlboro logos again for the 2018 season after a huge $160 million per annum deal, and indeed we were proved correct as the suspiciously blank airbox cover eventually graced the Marlboro Esq Mission Winnow logo by the Japanese GP.
Philip Morris, owner of Marlboro and other tobacco products weren’t tardy with their eventual use of the purchased space on the team’s car and branding in 2018. The launch using the Japanese race was a deliberate timing exercise to avoid all the countries with the strictest tobacco advertising laws such as Australia and in Europe.
Japan has a rather lax approach to tobacco use compared to the West, to which has been used in the past promote new tobacco products such as IQOS, the e-cig by Marlboro that uses tobacco rather than liquid.
Now for 2019, the partnership between Ferrari and Philip Morris has included bigger logos on the car and team wear, plus the use of Mission Winnow in the team name registered for this season.
The plan might well come unstuck for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow come to Australia in March. Australian authorities are investigating whether the team’s uniforms and livery could be in breach of tobacco advertising bans according to Fairfax Media owned newspapers such as the Canberra times.
Allegedly the federal Department of Health and Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services have launched investigations into Philip Morris’ new branding with regard to Mission Winnow. And Australian Communications and Media Authority has launched a separate investigation, after Network Ten and Foxtel broadcast the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix with Mission Winnow emblazoned on Ferrari’s cars.
“It has nothing to do with F1 cars, that’s for sure,” said Melbourne surgeon and anti-smoking campaigner John Cunningham
“Tobacco companies are finally admitting that their only means of financial survival is to get people addicted to nicotine, and they’re going to pour money into researching how to do that most effectively — not for the benefit of their addicted customers, but for the benefit of their profits and shareholders.”
Should the team be in breach of the Australian law, then they’ll have no choice but to either remove the Mission Winnow branding from all Ferrari material or not race in Melbourne.
This could also be the tip of the iceberg, if Australia sets the precedent, then we might well see other countries fall in line with similar bans of the team branding in Europe, Canada and the Americas.
The knock-on could well affect other series using the Mission Winnow advertising such as the Philip Morris sponsored Ducati MotoGP team, due to race in Australia in October 2019.