Ferrari go into the 2019 season on the back of a healthy two weeks in Barcelona, one where the Italian giants seemed to be the fastest on track.
After a record 5th title for Mercedes last season, things haven’t really started on a high note this season, with the hangover of that 5th world title still lingering on.
Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff have accepted the fact that Mercedes could be close to 0.5 seconds behind Ferrari.
However, they are confident that the team has it in them to overcome this initial pace difference and come out on top.
— GP Today (@GP_Today) March 3, 2019
NEW: Ferrari quietly drops ‘Mission Winnow’ from team name – https://t.co/FgVFqmws3z
— RaceFans (@racefansdotnet) March 3, 2019
Ferrari already came under heavy scrutiny last season for blowing the pace advantage with silly mistakes on part of the Vettel and the strategy team.
The Binotto led team would be hoping that those errors are not repeated this season and that they title drought could finally come to an end.
While the two weeks in testing have been pretty satisfying for Ferrari, the days leading up to it were marred with some controversy over the ‘Mission Winnow’ branding.
Tobacco products have been forbidden from advertising in F1 for sometime now, and thus Philip Morris’ re-entry with the ‘Mission Winnow’ branding was seen with raised eyebrows by the F1 fraternity.
The Australian authorities raised the issue prior to winter testing in Barcelona, as they felt that Ferrari were trying to bend the rules with this association.
Philip Morris International Director of Global Communication Tommaso di Giovanni did address the issue, confirming that their association with Ferrari was well within the regulations.
“The initiative and the symbols and logos used on the livery of the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and the website comply with the laws that apply to our activities in Australia and the State of Victoria,” di Giovanni said.
“We are aware of the debate on Mission Winnow in Australia and we are working with the organisers of the local grand prix to understand the concerns of the authorities and give them an answer.
“Mission Winnow does not advertise or promote our company’s products or product brands. Rather, it is designed to talk about our commitment to improving ourselves in everything we do.
“Mission Winnow is a window to the new Philip Morris International and our partners, to our commitment and the stimuli that drive us to improve and evolve. And to contribute to the progress of society.” he added.
While Ferrari have remained tight lipped about it, they have now gone onto change their official FIA entry name for the 2019 season.
The team will now officially be called ‘Scuderia Ferrari’ and not ‘Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow’.
— tami. (@Vetteleclerc) March 3, 2019
However, no clarity with regards to the branding for the Australian GP has been provided.
We’ll have to wait for official word from Ferrari regarding this step and if it has been taken after all the issues with Australian authorities.