A little over a month after the start of World F-1 in Australia (March 17), the first controversy is already being served: the tobacco advertising in Ferrari and McLaren. The two teams could violate the law that regulates tobacco advertising at sporting events, banned since 2005 within the EU. Precisely it is the European Commission, through its Department of Health, Food Security and Energy, which has initiated an investigation to verify compliance with the law in the two teams.
The investigation starts, according to the EU, an amendment submitted to the list of entries in the 2019 World Cup in the FIA. In it, one of the teams appears as "Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow", that is, the historic Italian Scuderia takes this year by added name the last campaign of its sponsor Philip Morris. As already denounced and investigated in Australia, sensitive to anti-smoking laws, Mission Winnow is the last camouflage of the US tobacco company, which will be present in the chassis of the new Ferrari and in the monkeys of the pilots through the slogan ('Win now') and a logo reminiscent of the Marlboro M, which the red cars already wore in the last five GPs of 2018 , from Japan to Abu Dhabi.
The 'ghost' sponsorship
'Mission Winnow' is the slogan worn by Ferraris since 2018, which camouflages the advertising of Philip Morris
The last one to join the tobacco sponsorship - which was withdrawn from the F-1 in 2006, before the EU ban - has been McLaren, which has signed a multi-year contract with British American Tobacco (BAT), the matrix of brands such as Lucky Strike, which was already present in the big circus with the BAR-Honda team from 1999 to 2005. BAT will be present in the English cars in a camouflaged way, with the slogan "A Better Tomorrow "(a better tomorrow). This Thursday will be presented in society the new design of the cars of Woking and on Friday those of Maranello.
Both sponsorship initiatives are subject to investigation by the EU, which should give its approval. "The Commission continues to closely monitor the implementation of the sponsorship and advertising bans envisaged in the Tobacco Advertising Directive, also in the context of F-1," said Anca Padurara, spokesperson for the EU Health Projects, Food Safety and Energy to the specialized web RaceFans.net. As can be deduced from the EU response, the tobacco companies submitted their sponsorships to the European Commission for consultation. "These initiatives will require further examination after which the Commission will proceed as necessary."
Both Philip Morris and BAT deny that their sponsorships, embodied in a priori advertising other than nicotine with ethereal messages of a motivational nature, have nothing to do with tobacco. The EU must decide whether this is the case or not.