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Ferrari's biggest sponsor under investigation

Ferrari's biggest sponsor under investigation

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Ferrari's biggest sponsor under investigation

Ferrari's biggest sponsor under investigation

Australian authorities have launched an investigation into Ferrari's new 'Mission Winnow' branding. The branding is an initiative of the team's title sponsor Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro cigarettes. The company says the brand promotes smoking alternatives and other initiatives, but some believe it is a clever way to keep Marlboro and the similar logo and colours in the front of F1 fans' minds.

Melbourne's The Age newspaper said an investigation has been launched in Australia ahead of the 2019 season opener in Melbourne next month.

The investigations are being carried out by the federal health department, the Victorian state equivalent, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

"It (Mission Winnow) has nothing to do with F1 cars, that's for sure," said Australian anti-smoking campaigner John Cunningham.

Philip Morris said the company "always respects the laws that apply to our activities".

"The campaign does not advertise or promote any branded products."

It remains to be seen whether the outcome of the investigation will affect Ferrari's ability to run with the company's logos on its cars in the season-opening race in Melbourne.

Teams have previously had to run with some sponsors removed for alternative reasons - for example, Williams could not race with their Martini-inspired livery in France or Abu Dhabi last year due to restrictions of advertising alcohol.

MORE: 'Mick Schumacher in F1 with Ferrari would be extraordinary'
MORE: Image of Charles Leclerc in 2019 Ferrari uniform leaked

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