Formula One drivers have a rather enviable lifestyle. Even if you take away the private jets, model girlfriends and vast piles of cash, their careers involve spending 19 weekends a year racing some of the most advanced automotive machinery ever made. It's a hard job, etc etc.
However, there is one aspect of being an F1 supremo that isn't quite so glamorous. With countless sponsors to satisfy, a driver's contractual media obligations can be immense.
Often desperate to show-off the famous face of their driver, sponsors will throw them into all sorts of media and PR events. As you can tell from the picture of Felipe Massa, above, most hate this kind of work. Just look at his face. How close do you think he was to snapping and causing untold violence with that pole?
Worse still, sponsors mostly give no regard to the lack of acting talent exhibited by the average F1 driver. Those who have seen Jensen Button's wooden performance alongside Jessica Ennis and Rory McIlroy in the recent Santander ads will know exactly what we're talking about.
But it's not just current day drivers who are cursed with the problem. Below is our top five selection of the cringiest TV ads featuring F1 drivers both past and present.
If you can believe that a one-time F1 World Champion would be out shopping for an Austin Metro, you'll believe anything. Making an appearance without his trademark moustache, Mansell is accosted by what must be the most clichéd car dealer imagined, who boasts of the Metro being a "driver's car". What's more, the Brit legend even manages to crash into another car, driven by none other than Murray Walker. You didn't have many cool points to play with in the first place, Mansell, and you've just lost one now.
Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso – Mercedes Benz
The shuddering awfulness of F1 ads is that they often portray drivers, known to be bitter rivals, to be the best of friends. The relationship between Hamilton and Alonso wasn't best described as cosy when both were sharing the limelight at McLaren. Not that you'd be able to tell from this Mercedes ad, where they enjoy a spot of healthy competition in a variety of situations. The grating theme tune only adds to this commercial's utter terribleness.
Damon Hill – Pizza Hut
Despite the poor acting of both Damon Hill and Murray Walker, this ad for Pizza Hut is slightly more watchable because you can tell they had fun making it, as these outtakes prove. Whether Damon would be eating at Pizza Hut, given he'd just won the F1 World title, is another matter.
Michael Schumacher – Fiat Nouvo Scudo van
That's right – you've got one of the most iconic drivers ever to take to the wheel at your disposal, and what do you do? Make him advertise a Fiat van. Sit back as Michael dons a chauffer's outfit, picks up the kids from school and generally manages to give the impression that he's not dying inside.
Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen- Mercedes Benz
Another attempt to inject a bit of light-heartedness into an intense rivalry. This ad sees Finnish wheelsman Mika Hakkinen held up on a snowy road by a slow driven Mercedes roadster. Eventually passing, he finds Schumacher at the wheel, and declares him a "Sunday driver". Mika is then himself passed by a lady in a G-Wagen who mutters similar about the two-time champion. It was meant to highlight the benefits of four-wheel drive, but this Mercedes ad only highlighted that for the right money, F1 drivers will throw dignity to the wind and do anything their paymasters tell them.