Formula One and adverts do not go well together – as anyone who was watching ITV’s live broadcast of the Japanese Grand Prix knows (ITV cut away to adverts just as Michael Schumacher’s crucial engine failure was unfolding.)
F1 drivers in adverts is a recipe for comedy, though: the sub-soap opera acting, the cheesy smiles, and the fact that they’re usually promoting some family runaround car or flavourless lagel they wouldn’t touch in normal life.
Here’s ten of our favourite F1 ad videos…
Kimi Raikkonen – Johnnie Walker
Ice-cool Kimi broods his way all over this one. The McLaren-Mercedes roars across an aircraft carrier and out pops the smouldering Finn. Apparently he doesn’t touch a drop of the sponsor’s product, though.
Fernando Alonso – Renault Megane
Poor Alonso. Michael Schumacher gets his pick of the Ferraris and Maseratis. Kimi gets all the Mercedes he can play with. But Alonso is left in a glorified shopping trolley with a fat lump of a backside, in which he is expected to do battle with a road that turns into a snake. He does a good job, though.
Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello – AMD
Former Ferrari team mates Schumi and Rubinho buddy up to tell us about the glories of AMD microchips. Schu even gives them credit for helping them stay on top of the brake problems that nearly cost him the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix. (You’ll have to pop over to Youtube to watch this one).
Michael Schumacher – Minol
Schumacher’s an old hand at this game, though. Here he is in 1995 plugging Minol (anyone know what Minol is?)
Jacques Villeneuve, Nick Heidfeld and Martin Brundle – Intel
Not wanting to be outdone by AMD, Intel fire back with the two BMW drivers plus ITV’s Martin Brundle. All three sound stupendously bored as they reel off page after page of PR guff about how ‘technology is power’.
Michael Schumacher – Fiat Palio
This is such a cheesily predictable idea that I’m not going to describe. But there’s a lesson for Alonso here – at least Schumacher doesn’t have to driver the Palio…
Kimi Raikkonen – Nescafe Xpress
Kimi advertising drinks again – this time he pulls in a slurp of Nescafe. I’ve tried that Xpress stuff and it’s horrible – acrid and bitter. You could forgive him for missing the pit signal if it weren’t for the predictable gorgeous waitress…
Nick Heidfeld, Jacques Villeneuve and Mario Theissen – Petronas
It’s Dr. T, Quick Nick and… erm… Newtown. Eh? Whatever happened to Golden Balls? At any rate BMW need to splice Robert Kubica into this ad sharpish having kicked Villeneuve to the kerb. But what nickname to give him? Pole Man?
Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, Vodafone
Most of the Ferrari Vodafone adverts are utterly interminable, especially with that naff, “can you dig it” song in the background. This one actually raises a smile though…
Fernando Alonso – Buckler
Another slightly bemusing Alonso advert…
Juan Pablo Montoya – Johnnie Walker
Now this is more like it – plenty of retro F1 racing action. This would make me buy anything – even third-rate whiskies. It’s a shame Montoya has now left the sport because it lacks precisely the kind of action seen in this advert…