Ferrari unveil anniversary logo after tobacco ad probe
Melbourne, March 13 : Ferrari unveiled a 90th anniversary logo for Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Wednesday after ditching branding by a tobacco giant's subsidiary over a potential breach of cigarette advertising laws.
The Italian team had earlier agreed to remove all references to Mission Winnow, a research subsidiary of tobacco firm Philip Morris, from their SF90 cars and team uniforms over concerns they could breach Australian laws on tobacco advertising.
The new logo honours the establishment of Scuderia Ferrari in 1929 by Enzo Ferrari and his associates, the team said. Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc will drive for Ferrari this year.
"The name of this year's car, the SF90, is already a celebration of this anniversary and, on top of that (we have) decided to honour this achievement in an even more evident manner in Melbourne," Ferrari said in a statement.
"Over the Australian Grand Prix weekend, the SF90 livery, the drivers' race suits and some of the team's track equipment will bear the logo celebrating 90 years of the Scuderia." Philip Morris last October made a public return to Formula One through its scientific research subsidiary Mission Winnow and branded Ferrari cars with the logo.
They were featured on its livery during the Japan Grand Prix, sparking an investigation by Australia's communications regulator over whether TV broadcasts of the race breached its ban on tobacco advertising.
The state government of Victoria, whose capital is Melbourne, was likewise probing the controversial branding.
Philip Morris last week agreed to drop the branding for Australia, but said it continued to believe it "complies with relevant laws related to our activities around the world".
A Scuderia Ferrari spokesman previously told AFP the team expected to return to using the Mission Winnow logo at the Bahrain Grand Prix, the second race of the season, in late March.
Formula One's governing body, the FIA, is opposed to any advertising or sponsoring of cigarettes or tobacco, as are a number of countries staging races.