A controversy surrounding the clandestine return of tobacco advertising in F1 is deepening.
Ferrari's main backer Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, is being investigated by Australian authorities ahead of the 2019 season opener in Melbourne.
The investigation surrounds the use of the new 'Mission Winnow' branding, and after the launch of the 2019 Ferrari, now Italian authorities are looking into the story as well.
Italy's Autosprint claims that the major Italian consumer union has filed a complaint with the national competition authority.
"We also presented a complaint to the ministry of health," confirmed union spokesman Massimiliano Dona.
Also fascinating is that McLaren has followed Ferrari's lead by welcoming a tobacco brand back to F1 for 2019.
The British team is now sponsored by British American Tobacco (BAT), which in the 90s had its own F1 team.
The BAT branding on the 2019 McLaren car reads "A better tomorrow".
A spokesman for the tobacco company said the new sponsorship "has nothing to do with what we did before 2006".
"It is not about promoting tobacco products," the BAT spokesman told AFP news agency.
When asked to comment, a spokesman for F1's governing body said: "We are not aware of the details so it is difficult to assess at this stage."
But the FIA spokesman said the Paris based federation "has not changed" its earlier stance against tobacco advertising.
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