March 5, 2019 / 6:16 PM / 13 days ago

Ferrari to drop Mission Winnow branding at Australian GP

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Pre Season Testing - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - March 1, 2019 Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in action during testing REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Ferrari will race in Formula One’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix next week without branding for Philip Morris’s Mission Winnow initiative amid concern about tobacco advertising.

The team’s official name has also changed from Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow to Scuderia Ferrari, according to an updated entry list published by the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

Italian media quoted Ferrari chief executive Louis Camilleri confirming the move at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday.

“There were problems with the Department of Health and Philip Morris did not have time to find a solution,” he told reporters.

“Winnow is not a brand, however. It has nothing to do with tobacco but is about the transition from cigarettes to electronic (products).

“In Australia, we will still have a surprise on the car for the fans.”

Ferrari’s partnership with Philip Morris International has been going for more than 40 years and has survived a ban on tobacco advertising introduced in 2006.

Philip Morris says Mission Winnow is focused on raising awareness of smoke-free “heat not burn” products. The branding first appeared on the Ferrari cars last October at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Australian media have reported that health departments on a national and state level were looking into whether Ferrari’s livery broke the ban on tobacco advertising.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond

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