15 DEC. Sponsors make F1 tick, that is a fact and has been so since Stirling Moss was in short trousers.
So, when a sponsor, shelling out a fortune for a team to go racing, wants their product promoted, it has to be done, no matter how embarrassing the end result may turn out to be.
Here then is a small selection of some rather good and some toe-curlingly awful examples of the art…
NIGEL MANSELL – CANON PIXEL JET
Imagine being the unfortunate Williams team member, who had to tell Nigel Mansell about this one.
“Well Nigel, firstly you stare at and steal a Canon printer and then you eat a strawberry in a seductive manner”.
JAMES HUNT – TEXACO
From 1977, when World Champion James (Jane) Hunt paired up with TV superstars of the day, Morecambe and Wise.
DAMON HILL AND MURRAY WALKER – PIZZA HUT
Like Eric and Ernie, Murray and Damon were the perfect foil for each other.
In this gem from 1996, the Williams driver has to put up with Murray’s complete inability to stop commentating, in this slice (pun intended) of advertising excellence.
MICHAEL SCHUMACHER AND NICO ROSBERG – MERCEDES
Who says the Germans don’t do a bit of humour now and then?
Watch for the bit where the wife hushes Michael up, as she and her husband bicker over which is the better driver.
LEWIS HAMILTON, HEIKKI KOVALAINEN AND BARRY OUT OF EASTENDERS – VODAFONE
Bored taxi drivers, Lewis and Heikki, race to pick up a fare (no guessing who wins).
See if you can recognise the mystery passenger.
KIMI RAIKKONEN – CLEAR DANDRUFF SHAMPOO
Kimi does an advert about dandruff and he looks as thrilled about it as you might imagine.
Contains the immortal line: “Each part of the car has to be in peak condition, including me and my scalp”.
The Iceman doesn’t actually have to say anything, clearly it was easier to get a voice-over actor in, rather than try and make him do it.
JACKIE STEWART – FORD MOTOR COMPANY
Triple World Champion, Jackie Stewart, happily flings his Ford Cortina around mountain passes but decides this is not safe for his young family.
Cue the switch to the dull old Taunus as he takes the family around for a spin as the youngsters sit up front and wander around in the back.
SAUBER – PETRONAS
The Swiss are good at a lot of things, chocolate, clocks and being very neat among them but being funny does not come naturally.
Some years ago, they and Petronas came up with an advertising campaign which had a go at the overweight (that’ll be the chocolate) and in this one, the follically challenged.
Every bit as hilarious as it sounds.
AYRTON SENNA – SHELL
Following on from that very weird Nigel Mansell advert, here is another Japanese effort, this time for Shell.
Think of all the great things they could have done with Senna’s valuable time and instead, they came up with this piece of vomit inducing nonsense…
MARK WEBBER – CANBERRA MILK
The only possible explanation for this one is that Webber owed somebody at Canberra Milk a favour. a BIG favour.
NIGEL MANSELL – AUSTIN METRO
Well, having kicked this off with that strawberry nightmare, it is only fair we should finish up with a half decent advert for our Nige’.
Featuring Monty Python star, Eric Idle and some great one liners. “It has a sun-roof, so you can feel the wind in your helmet”.