McLaren Racing has announced a contract with British American Tobacco (BAT) with the company becoming its Global Partner from 2019 F1 season.

While straight up tobacco sponsorship remains banned in F1 from 2001 onward, Ferrari had continued presence of Marlboro through Phillip Morris International on their cars until mid-2011 when the were eventually forced to remove it.

Last year, PMI revealed ‘Mission Winnow’, which is an initiative where the company is focusing on finding solutions to the current problems related to tobacco usage and developing ‘smoke-free’ products which helps ease the issues.

The Mission Winnow branding has come under investigation in Australia where the campaigners claim about a disguised product advertisement – the FIA and F1 has been silent on the topic thus far which hints on their approval.

It may come under fresh scrutiny though with McLaren now announcing BAT as their new partner which is aiming towards the same like PMI where McLaren Applied Technologies will work with BAT on ‘reduced risk products and grounded in technology and innovation’.

“We welcome BAT to the McLaren team and support their ambition of delivering meaningful and lasting change through innovation,” said Zak Brown. “BAT’s transformation agenda is central to this partnership and we are pleased to share our technical experience and expertise in helping to accelerate this.”

Kingsley Wheaton, BAT’s Chief Marketing Officer added: “We’re extremely proud and excited about this new partnership, further enabling us to accelerate the pace at which we innovate and transform ourselves.

“It gives us a truly global platform with which to drive greater resonance of our potentially reduced risk products, including our Vype, Vuse and glo brands. Ultimately, innovation and technology will support us in creating a better tomorrow’ for our consumers worldwide.”

This is a return to the sport for BAT when it raced as British American Racing (BAR) between 1999 and 2005 seasons after which the team was sold to Honda, which was later became Brawn GP and in today’s time, races as a manufacturer outfit, Mercedes.