Ferrari could start the 2019 season already on the back foot after the Australian authorities announced the team's new Mission Winnow livery may be in breach of tobacco advertising laws.
The Prancing Horse could be forced to turn up to Melbourne with a different livery. Australian laws preventing tobacco sponsorship has meant the team's new livery could be called into question over the branding.
In the past, the team advertised Marlboro cigarettes, the Philip Morris sponsorship deal leading to the unmistakable Ferrari liveries of the past few decades.
Now, with Philip Morris' move into the e-cigarette market, it was announced ahead of the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix that Ferrari would feature the new logo of the Mission Winnow brand in conjunction with the launch of the company's new line of e-cigarettes.
Although not explicitly the name of the e-cigarette brand, the Mission Winnow logo could be said to look similar to the 'barcode' logo workaround Ferrari employed after 2007 to circumvent advertising rules.
Whilst regulations in 2007 began the eradication of tobacco sponsorship in Formula One and leading to the eventual removal of all such branding in 2011, the new logo and sponsorship deal could be an attempt to bring Philip Morris tobacco sponsorship back into the sport.
In a statement released by a Philip Morris spokesperson, the company said: "Philip Morris Australia’s parent company, Philip Morris International and Scuderia Ferrari have a global partnership, which is wholly managed outside of Australia.”
The Department of Health and Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services announced that an investigation was being launched into the issue.