Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Ferrari quietly drops ‘Mission Winnow’ from team name

2019 F1 season

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Ferrari has removed Philip Morris International brand Mission Winnow from its official Formula 1 team name.

An updated entry list for the 2019 F1 season published by the FIA lists the team’s official name as ‘Scuderia Ferrari’. It was previously entered as ‘Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow’.

Tobacco producer PMI, a long-standing sponsor of Ferrari, revealed its Mission Winnow branding ahead of last year’s Japanese Grand Prix. It has denied the initiative is intended to promote its tobacco products.

However health departments in Australia, where the first round of the 2019 championship will take place in two weeks’ time, and the European Union have expressed concerns over the legal implications of the promotion due to bans on tobacco advertising. The latter told RaceFans last month the initiatives “require further close examination” by the EU.

The Mission Winnow logos feature prominently on the livery of the team’s SF90. The PMI campaign is also promoted by the Ducati team in Moto GP.

Last month McLaren announced a new sponsorship deal with tobacco producer British American Tobacco whose campaign ‘A Better Tomorrow’ appears on their MCL34. The team is entered as ‘McLaren F1 Team’ on the latest FIA entry list for 2019.

The updated entry list also lists Racing Point’s engines as ‘BWT Mercedes’ in reference to one of their sponsors.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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42 comments on “Ferrari quietly drops ‘Mission Winnow’ from team name”

  1. Can’t live up to the expectation?

  2. Good. Worlds most disgusting corporation, who are they trying to fool with this garbage. Their products should be banned in every country.

    1. True. Unfortunately countries love the tax revenues from cigarette purchases, similar to alcohol. At least that’s the case here in Canada. Oh and gambling too. They love to tell us not to do those things, and how costly overuse of those things is to personal health, to families, and to the health care system, while at the same time loving the billions in tax revenues they get from it. They’re called sin taxes. Seems hypocritical I know, but on the other hand they are legal activities, and nobody is forcing anybody to smoke, drink, or gamble, let along to excess. Now pot is legal in Canada too, and has it’s taxation as well of course.

      1. Well said.

      2. There is one other point about making addictive drugs legal, and that is the Government can legally monitor the production process to make sure the stuff is “safe”.

        1. Yeah regarding pot legalization the theory is the customer knows the product isn’t laced with anything, even things like pcb’s, and also this should take it out of the hands of the black market and free up police resources by them no longer having to spend so much time and resources policing for a recreational drug. They claim legalization will make it harder for youth to get it too. I don’t buy that for a second.

          So far, as this is quite new in Canada, the very recent news of last week is that the legal avenues to purchase have not been able to keep up with demand, so the black market is still flourishing. Also, bought legally the product is more expensive, and then has tax on top of that, so it doesn’t feel like the underground is going to dry up any time soon.

          I think we all have seen Governments generally don’t do a good job of running businesses efficiently, nor with the urgency to stay in the black like a private sector business must. I doubt the black market is all that worried.

      3. “no one’s forcing anybody to smoke, drink, or gamble..” sounds like you completely misunderstand the whole principle of advertising as being a driver of human behaviour, which is why tobacco advertising is banned.

    2. Mission Minnow.

  3. “BWT Mercedes”?

    What the hell has BWT done in regards to the engines? And like RBR branding their Renault units as “Tag Heuer”, why do the manufactures (and the FIA) allow it?

    There’s so much dodgy sponsorship going on in F1 at the moment, it’s a bit sad…

    1. @joeypropane – agreed, I wish branding could just be limited to the livery. Then again, marketing has always trumped common sense, so this will be a losing battle.

      It is also a slippery slope to monitor – what about AMG Petronas Mercedes? AMG for their performance background? Petronas for their custom fuels? Sounds legit. But what about.. BWT since that water is so pure it keeps the RP engineers healthy? Tag Heuer PUs since they keep ticking (down like a time bomb’s countdown?).

      1. georgeboole (@)
        3rd March 2019, 12:37

        @phylyp I m sure you remember it has been done again. Remember Mecachrome or something like that on the Benettons I think.
        It was mentioned that way because the evolution of the engine in terms of performance etc was not done from the factory providing the engine but the team itself.
        Not saying I agree but can’t blame them for supporting their sponsors

        1. @georgeboole – to be honest, I haven’t been watching F1 long enough to have seen the Benetton days :) But yes, a quick Google search of Mechachrome does help me understand your point.

          1. georgeboole (@)
            3rd March 2019, 12:45

            @phylyp I ve been watching F1 since 1992 full time. Before that I only had tv access only to the Monaco gp. Glad I still remember things!
            Anyway I think it was a Renault engine labeled different ways. Playlife comes to mind now. And I think Mecachrome and Playlife were the same engine. Not 100% sure though

          2. It wasn’t just branding, they took over the Renualt V10’s. Which by the end of 97′ were (arguably) still the ‘engine to have’. Mechachrome (Williams) and Playlife (Benetton) is what they became known as. Mechacrome have a long and varied career in building engines, how Renualt exiting F1 happened in the way it did is probably a long story, but for a little while had ‘Mechachrome’ & ‘Playlife;. The speed at which they became uncompetitive has always surprised me.

          3. I believe Mecachrome actually build the Renault F1 engines. From the Mecachrome website:

            In the motor sport sector, Mecachrome Group has been supplying Renault Sport F1 for 40 years, and engines for F2 and F3 championships as well and Citroën C3R5 engines.

      2. @phylyp, it could be pointed out that the TAG Group was involved in the design and construction of the TAG-Porsche engine that Mclaren used back in the 1980s and, at the time, TAG Heuer was still a subsidiary of TAG Group. In that sense, there is a slightly tangential link – though I believe that they are making more of their role as the official timekeeper in F1, and indeed in a lot of motorsport series, to make that point.

        @georgeboole, in the case of Mecachrome, in that instance Mecachrome, which is a specialist mechanical engineering company, is actually more accurate in some ways. Whilst the engines were designed by Renault, Mecachrome was, and still is, the company that Renault have traditionally used to help manufacturer and prepare the engines – so using name of “Mecachrome” was actually a fairly accurate description, since I believe that Mecachrome technically owned the design rights to the engine in 1998.

        The “Playlife” engine was just a rebranded version of that same engine – in that case, Benetton were using the name of one of their subsidiary companies.

        In fact, I am rather surprised that some should be getting so vocal about something that was pretty common in the past. We had the “Supertec” engine, which was another renamed version of the same Renault engine and Sauber used to name their customer Ferrari engines the “Petronas” engine right up until their takeover by BMW – indeed, if the original poster started watching the sport back in 2005, he should have been aware that Sauber were using the “Petronas 05A” in their car, as they chose to rebrand it.

        Minardi used the “Fondmetal” V10, which was a renamed Cosworth engine, back in 2000, whilst Arrows used the “Asiatech” engine, which was a rebranded version of the old Peugeot V10 being built under licence and later taken by Minardi.

        Elsewhere, Prost had the “Acer”, which was a renamed Ferrari engine, whilst Minardi also used the name “European”, after European Aviation, which was a rebadged Ford engine, for the PS01 – renaming engines after sponsors was quite commonplace back in the 2000s.

        Besides, in some senses it’s a lot less tacky than one of the more egregious pieces of marketing that was done a few years ago at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The ACO decided that the position of the start/finish line was to be moved about 200m further up the pit straight from the original position – a move which they later admitted was for the sole purpose of being able to get more of their sponsors into the background when the traditional photographs were taken of cars crossing the finish line.

        1. The ACO decided that the position of the start/finish line was to be moved about 200m further up the pit straight from the original position – a move which they later admitted was for the sole purpose of being able to get more of their sponsors into the background when the traditional photographs were taken of cars crossing the finish line.


        2. georgeboole (@)
          3rd March 2019, 14:10

          Anon thanks for the detailed review!
          I was trying to remember the rest of the Supertech, Fondmetal and Asiatech names but was impossible without searching.
          It’s true Supertech was indeed involved in the engine evolution rather than TAG let’s say but it’s a perfect example of rebranding

        3. The ACO decided that the position of the start/finish line was to be moved about 200m further up the pit straight from the original position – a move which they later admitted was for the sole purpose of being able to get more of their sponsors into the background

          wow, TIL

    2. @joeypropane Maybe BWT are paying for the PU supply & are getting the branding on the engine in lieu of SportPesa’s full title sponsorship.

    3. It’s water-cooled.

  4. Good. Consider yourself Winnowed my dear PM.

    Though I personally will miss the apocalytpic overtone of the word which is ironic given the product advertised.

    In all seriousness, that was an a class marketing prank and even if short lived certainly got the attention desired… In spades.

  5. Are the logos going to be removed from the livery as well? Because although I do support that, that Ferrari just wouldn’t look the same anymore.

  6. I predict that it is only a matter of sufficient time passing, to enable representative studies of “vaping” to prove a positive connection with lung disease or COPD etc. Then we shall see the start of the lengthy enrichment of lawyers once again. The direct connection with the source material seems obvious, they even talk of heated tobacco product as a substitute for cigarettes. But this is a gigantic industry, what are you going to do with all that tobacco? Close the plantations? (if you do that other drugs may well be grown there, it will create a huge problem.)

    It was the baby powder that came as a surprise! Until of course it was revealed that asbestos and the talc base mineral are often found in close proximity in their natural state. Asbestos used to be sold as a Rawlplug substitute called Philplug, I used it a lot in one of my houses, it was very versatile and could be made to fit any size or shape of hole.

    1. rpaco, actually, it seems that it is not that surprising – the Reuters news agency have produced a special report which shows that the FDA were investigating Johnson and Johnson over possible asbestos contamination of their talcum powder as far back as the 1970s, so it has been a long running issue.

      Mind you, asbestos was also known about for decades as being a potential cause of lung and stomach cancers for decades – I think that some of the earliest lawsuits over asbestos related deaths date back just over a century – and it it still, in a lot of nations, the leading cause of death in the construction sector. The idea of using it in a product that you were likely to be cutting or sanding down is a rather worrying sign.

      As for the plant itself, there probably would be quite a few people who might in fact be pleased to see the back of tobacco plantations given tobacco plants are often considered to be a problematic invasive species.

      1. Yes you are correct the first law suit was in America 1918, all settled out of court and kept very secret. Even the Romans knew of the dangers of Asbestos.

  7. Wouldn’t be surprised if they have been forced to do this by Liberty as a compromise.

  8. So, does this mean they will remove all the 35 or so instances of WissionMinnow logos currently vomited all over every body surface, corner, nook and cranny of their livery? Or, is this just a team name change only?

    1. @bullmello: Good one. Let’s call them Wishin’ Minnows. Or on a fair and level playing field: Banned.

      Between the Bernie legacy payments and uninterrupted PMI sponsorship, Ferrari probably make money in F1, rather than lose it like most teams.

    2. Not sure if they will remove the logos @bullmello, but they might reduce them to merely the chevron and tilt them 90 degrees.

  9. I am assuming they will start putting the M and it’s shadow casted M on packets now that they have run the campaign or will the M still be on the cars. This article isn’t very good.

  10. Bit pointless, honestly who’s started smoking cause they saw a Marlboro logo on a car? Who’s gonna stop when the logo’s gone? Why waste time

    1. @joshuadoran: This isn’t the place and I don’t have the time – but advertising and marketing work in subtle but sinister and effective ways. Presence and association bestows credibility on the brand.

      1. A trusted cigarette brand is still a cigarette brand, you might switch to Marlboro, but that’s it, I know what’s being said but for something with as bad (and deserved) a rep as cigarettes, no one will pick them up like that

        1. BlackJackFan
          4th March 2019, 3:59

          “…no one…”
          You seem to have a lot of faith in human nature… Not everyone is as strong-willed as you, methinks…

        2. One of the biggest growth markets for tobacco is Asia and the target is children, Asia is also a target market for F1.
          Not hard to work it out.

        3. @joshuadoran: Keep your naivety strong.

          And PMI will keep attracting kids to their brand of death sentence via the appeal of Ferrari’s charisma.

    2. When I started smoking (2009 or so, now quit) i would only smoke cigarettes associated with f1 teams, and this was after all of them bar had left. Rothmans, Marlboro, Camel, anything I could find. When I went to Japan and Singapore i exclusively smoked West’s and Mild Sevens as you couldn’t get them in NZ. My loyalty to those brands is due to their loyalty to my favourite sport.

  11. Why doesn’t PMI just buy one of the smaller sugary drinks companies and use that as a token branding and marketing vehicle?

    1. @mrvco: Don’t give away brilliant marketing ideas for free. That’s rule 1.

    2. Get a sugary drink. Rename it Marlboro Juice. Put that on the cars.

      The brand is so deeply associated with Ferrari that this mission Winnow seems purposefully used to create controversy and remind people of the actual cigarette brand, rather than to promote… Well, what are they even promoting? I have a vague idea but the point is that it gets everyone talking about cigarettes and their famous brand.

  12. They ban phillip morris products but they don’t have problem whith energy drinks like monster and red bull..

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