“Roll up, roll up, and watch the strongest man you ever did see arm-wrestle a brown bear into submission, before entering into a gentlemanly racing duel with another man….”
Not content with channelling Robin Hood’s resident stave-duelling monk, Little John at the beginning of the 2018 F1 season, it now appears that everyone’s favourite current German Ferrari driver, Sebastian Vettel has been harbouring a secret desire to be a Victorian circus strongman on the QT. Either that, or he’s long held a man-crush on Nigel Mansell all these years. Which would at least go some way in explaining what manner of lunacy has taken hold of his top lip since the end of the current F1 season. The upshot of which means the second best driver in the world has decided to finish the year the way he started it; as a bit of a laughing stock.
The Herr shocker this time of asking is clocked a bit more southerly than it was when 2018 was still young; in as much as the offending article is located not on Vettel’s bonce, but rather on his upper lip. And while the last time it was a blatant absence of the fluffy stuff (around his neck and ears, courtesy of a shaved, layered look) which raised eyebrows in the paddock, this time it’s the presence of the fluffy stuff (which normally grows in the region of our bums) which has caught us all off guard.
Vettel Out-Vettels Himself
Yes, Vettel has been recently seen sporting what can only be described as a bum-fluff ‘tache. The sort which he probably imagined made him look a bit Clark Gable/Errol Flynn-esque, on admiring his handiwork with the Phillishave in his bathroom mirror. Yet in reality makes him look more like classic BBC1 sitcome, 'Only Fools and Horses’' used car expert, Boycie. Or worse still, one-time enfant terrible of football, the multi-lingual Joey Barton.
And how does Drivl know this (i.e., that Vettel suddenly appears to have fulfilled the tired stereotype most closely associated with a 1970s German porn star in but the one grooming session) you may ask? The answer being, while most of you were wetting yourselves watching a very inebriated Kimi Raikonnen walk on stage during the Formula One season finale’s FIA Prize Gala Awards Ceremony, Drivl was preoccupied with the unidentifiable caterpillar-esque insect which had somehow managed to crawl onto the top lip of Kimi’s Ferrari team mate. And subsequently curled up and died in situ.
While many expected the 31-year old to attend the annual FIA Prize Gala with his long-term partner, Hanna Prater, in tow, Vettel instead decided to offer the supporting role to his frankly ridiculous ‘tache. All of which begs the question(s), of both why and what the actual fuck?
With the hair/money-raising month of Movember long gone, the casual observer can immediately rule out any thoughts that Vettel created this fuzzy monster as an honourable act of charity. And to the best of my knowledge, he hasn’t got any parts in upcoming movies whereby he portrays an ace Second World War Messerschmitt pilot. Therefore, Drivl can only assume he laid a bet with a friend which went horrifically wrong, despite Vettel trousering a few quid for delivering on his ill-advised facial furniture wager.
Is it Con-tache-ious?
But then wait. While it pains me to admit this shortly afterwards, something weird and unexpected happened which has left me in a state of eternal flux. I (disturbingly) found that the longer I stared at Vettel’s face, the more my initial derision and uncontrollable hysterics started to flip. So much so, that within 20 minutes, my mindset had reversed and conversely turned into something bordering on inexplicable ‘tache envy. Something which I’m ashamed to admit in public, yet feel compelled to do. Because my counsellor tells me that sharing is caring, right?
So- and in order to instantly distract/distance myself from such thoughts (and hastily adopt some sort of mindfulness/establish a self-help group for one) - I then tried to think of other men of motorsport who had grown a ‘tache over the years, as a sort of coping mechanism. Almost to help justify the existence of Vettel’s and quite possibly (in the days or weeks to come), my own, now that the seed has been cruelly planted.
And I then went on to arrange my findings in a Top 10 Taches of Terror in Motorsport format, as illustrated beneath;
10. Juha Kankkunen
Not only did Finnish rally legend, Juha Kankkunen boss the WRC throughout the 1980s and 90s, but the flying Finn was also the proud owner of the most impressively titan of ‘taches during his heyday.
9. Keke Rosberg
Better known to the younger generation as Nico’s dad, Keke’s appearance was the antithesis of his short-back and sides, clean-shaven son and heir (if not, hair) apparent. Circa the mid-1980s, we’re talking the full monty. Long hair, aviator sunglasses, bit of a beer gut, cigarette dangling from the area of his mouth and, of course, some top notch lip foliage.
8. Richard Petty
NASCAR favourite, Richard Petty didn’t give advertising space to just any old ‘tache. No, his was an imposingly monstrous – yet classically American, many might concur – handlebar variety, which took not a single prisoner.
7. Graham Hill
According to urban legend, Formula One icon, Graham Hill’s (Damon’s pop if you recall) rogue-ish ‘tache was the inspiration behind Wacky Races’ Dick Dastardly’s look. And it’s not difficult to see why such accusations were levelled when manfully admiring the twice World Driver’s Championship-winning Hill Snr’s pencil-line example of the genre.
6. Clay Regazzoni
Niki Lauda’s team-mate (both at BRM and Ferrari) was one of the furfathers of F1 facial fuzz, and you can certainly see why here. Mo-cassing the most splendiferous of ‘taches throughout his racing career, the Swiss’ top lip adornment was said to have proved a hit with the ladies at the time too.
5. Harald Ertl
He might have only been in the Formula One spotlight for a relatively short time (1975 – 1978), but that didn’t stop Harald Ertl’s headline-grabbing ‘tache from making a lasting impression. Which is more than could be said when recalling his F1 career. Yet in spite of never winning a single GP, Ertl’s epic beard and whispy mo’ combo ensured he’s remembered fondly in the arena of male grooming.
4. Kork Ballington
You can’t just rock up in motorsport with a name like Kork Ballington without being in ready possession of something substantial to back this mouthful up. Hence the peerless 1970s ‘tache to end all ‘taches. Teamed with lots of medallions and large sunnies, this bad-ass motorcycle racer offered the full package, if you get my drift. And also won the Motorcycle World Championship some four times.
3. Nigel Mansell
It’s impossible to mention motorsport and ‘taches in the same sentence without immediately picturing Big Nige himself. Twinning a daunting-looking lip-warmer with an equally geriatric tweed flat cap, Mansell was one of those strange folk who somehow managed to look retired even when he was an F1 rookie.
2. Daniel Ricciardo
Technically, not merely a moustache, but we're willing to overlook that as boot-drinking Aussie racer, Daniel Ricciardo brings us right smack, bang up-to-date in the ‘tache coverage stakes. Yes, we’re referring to that ‘tache and chops abomination he paraded at the US Grand Prix a few years back.
1. Seb Vettel
Yet my work here isn’t yet done – plus I’d be doing Drivl a disservice – if I failed to include Vettel’s latest dalliance with a razor in this top 10 compendium of traffic-stopping hairesy. A man and a moustache very much in synch ahead of the new 2019 F1 season, which will be hair before we know it. Much in the same way the authorities would be, should Seb accidently find himself passing a school while sporting this ‘tache in the meantime.