Italian car manufacturer Ferrari has removed the Mission Winnow branding from its official team name ahead of the 2019 Formula One season, according to reports.
The brand, which is owned by US tobacco company Philip Morris International, was omitted from an updated entry list published by the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
It now simply lists the team’s name as Scuderia Ferrari, whereas the name was previously accompanied by Mission Winnow.
The apparent change comes amid concerns around whether the Mission Winnow branding, which was added to the side of the Ferrari car ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix last season, directly contradicts the series’ rules prohibiting the promotion of tobacco-based products.
Mission Winnow is a campaign launched by Philip Morris to promote its research into developing ‘less harmful alternatives to cigarettes’.
Since appearing on the side of the Ferrari race car, the branding has come under scrutiny by the European Union (EU) as well as health departments in Australia ahead of the upcoming season’s curtain-raiser in Melbourne this month.
Philip Morris is a long-term partner of Ferrari and is most famous for the manufacture of Marlboro cigarettes, which had appeared prominently on Ferrari’s championship winning cars of past decades.
The company has denied that its Mission Winnow initiative is intended to promote its tobacco products and, according to the Ferrari website at the time of publication, is categorised as a title partner.
Last month, McLaren announced a new sponsorship deal with tobacco producer British American Tobacco whose campaign ‘A Better Tomorrow’ appears on their new car for the 2019 season, though the team is entered as ‘McLaren F1 Team’ on the latest FIA entry list.