Philip Morris International’s new Mission Winnow branding on Scuderia Ferrari has come under scrutiny of Australian agencies ahead of the 2019 F1 season start.

Already when the Mission Winnow logo was launched during 2018 Japanese GP, the Australian Communications and Media Authority had raised suspicion and launched an investigation after the broadcast on Australian TV channels.

As per the latest reports coming from Australia, it is being said that the federal Department of Health and Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services has also launched an investigation over the new Mission Winnow branding by PMI on the Ferrari cars.

The 2019 car is scheduled to be launched on February 15, where it is expected that the Mission Winnow branding will be present on the car as well as the overalls of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, after the team officially adopted it in their team name.

In fact, PMI has already revealed the new Mission Winnow-backed livery for Ducati MotoGP bikes of Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci which suggests how the 2019 Ferrari F1 car may look like in terms of the livery, the branding and the colours.

In response to the latest investigations, PMI Australia spokesperson released a statement, which read: “Philip Morris Australia’s parent company, Philip Morris International and Scuderia Ferrari have a global partnership, which is wholly managed outside of Australia.”

It remains to be seen how the investigations unfolds by the time the 2019 F1 cars roars in Melbourne during March 15-17 weekend when the new season kicks-off, with the Australian authorities looking if the branding is in breach of tobacco advertising bans put in place.

The core issue, it seems, boils down to the use of ‘Mission Winnow’ logo which looks very similar to ‘Marlboro’. Effectively, MW is PMI’s initiative to find innovative solutions to the current problems and present ‘smoke-free alternatives’ which they are already testing.

Not just in Australia, even F1 has laws regarding such sponsorship which forced teams to drop the tobacco sponsors. The crackdown by F1 started from 2001 onward, but Ferrari continued using Marlboro name until mid-2011 when it was forced to withdraw.

While they investigate with regards to Ferrari and if found it to be a breach, it might effect Ducati as well when MotoGP comes to Phillip Island later in the year. Outside tobacco, alcohol sponsorship has been a problem as well in recent times in F1.

Many F1 teams are forced to not use alcohol brands on their cars in selected grand prixs – especially in the Middle East – where there the public laws that does not allow them to advertise alcohol brands on their cars.