Problems for Ferrari?

While, depending on who you listen to, there have been mixed messages coming out of Maranello over the winter concerning both the Ferrari power unit and the SF1000’s aero, the Italian team currently faces an issue far removed from the technical side of matters.

An Italian consumer group is taking action against Ferrari over its Mission Winnow branding, and among other things is seeking seizure of the car.

“The Ministry’s opinion states that the Mission Winnow brand used on the occasion of Formula 1 sporting events allows, through the links on the site of the same name, a promotion, albeit indirectly, to an important manufacturer of cigarettes and new tobacco products,” said the consumer group, Codacons, in a statement referring to the Mission Winnow vaping products produced by long-time sponsor Philip Morris International .

“Strengthened by the decision of the ministry that confirms us across the board, we will start legal proceedings against Ferrari,” said Codacons president, Carlos Rienzi according to AutoMoto. “We will also ask for the new SF1000 single-seater that was presented in Reggio Emilia to be seized.”

While this isn’t the first time that the Mission Winnow branding has been in the headlines, many seeing it as a flagrant bid to get around the long-standing ban on tobacco, it marks a clearly more determined effort to outlaw the advertising of tobacco-related products such as e-cigarettes and vaping.

Interestingly, McLaren is sponsored by British American Tobacco which is pushing its own vaping products.

The Mission Winnow branding was banned at a number of races last year, as was that on the McLaren, and it remains to be seen how seriously government officials take Codacons demands.