Ferrari is still hopeful of maintaining ties with erstwhile title sponsor Philip Morris, despite dropping the tobacco company’s “Mission Winnow” branding from its F1 entry for the 2022 season.
Team principal Mattia Binotto feels that the team has many “opportunities” to continue the partnership with their long-time sponsor. Speaking at a post-season interview with GPFans, Binotto said”
“There are many opportunities on which we may collaborate with them, keeping them as partners."
"We have options on the table at the moment and we are still talking with them."
"Hopefully, they will remain still as a strong partner, but it'll take some more days and some more weeks."
Ferrari’s partnership with Phillip Morris has led to significant backlash and controversy in recent years. While tobacco advertising has been banned in F1 since the 2006 season, Ferrari has found a way to continue their lucrative partnership with Phillip Morris through their “Mission Winnow” branding.
Since 2019, Ferrari have carried the Mission Winnow branding on their cars, while their official entry in the sport has been known as “Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow”.
Phillip Morris describes Mission Winnow as “a change lab” that “reframes” global conversations, connects people, and “drives” innovation. But is widely considered nothing more than a shadow marketing technique promoting its tobacco brands.
In 2021, after increased pressure from the European Union, Ferrari were forced to remove the Mission Winnow branding from the European leg of the championship.
Former Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri’s abrupt departure from Maranello in late 2020 might have triggered the end of the partnership between Ferrari and Phillip Morris. Camilleri was also the chairman of Phillip Morris International and played a key role in Scuderia’s partnership with the tobacco company.
Ferrari not alone in F1 tobacco sponsorship
On paper, tobacco advertising has been banned in F1 for the last 18 years. But in reality, sponsorships related to tobacco companies and related products brought in a whopping $100 million to the sport in the 2020 season alone.
While Ferrari have often faced the brunt of the criticism for their continued partnership with Phillip Morris, other teams have mostly gone under the radar, despite having sponsors promoting tobacco and related products.
McLaren reportedly made nearly $20 million in 2019 from their sponsor Velas, who markets nicotine and tobacco products.
The figures are from a recent report from STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products) report. The report has revealed that F1 and MotoGP are the only top-tier sports in the world that still endorses tobacco products.