On This Day in #F1: 20th February

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler Carlo Carluccio

– 2007: The Greatest Commercial ever – The Circuit

On this day seven years ago – Monaco residents woke up from their ‘perfect lives’ to the V10 screams of a Ferrari F1 car. Shell was just completing the final filming for their new commercial which would celebrate 60 years of collaboration between these two giants – conveniently eliminating the twenty three year association between Ferrari and Agip which had started in 1973.


It was a classy production which also encompassed locations in Italy, New York, Australia, Hong Kong and Rio De Janeiro.

I’m not normally an advocate for advertising; I usually record anything I want to watch and then skip through any ad breaks. On visits to the movie theatre I request the time the movie starts and arrive accordingly – it’s a disgrace that I am paying for entry and expected to watch twenty to thirty minutes of commercials.

However… there are occasions that rules are there to be broken and this after all, was very special.

Antoine Bardou-Jacquet of ‘Partizan’ – a British production company – was commissioned to produce what is accepted as the most expensive television commercial ever created.

The finished film features six decades of Ferrari Formula One cars blasting through world-famous cityscapes and the journey is truly astonishing.

shellAn avenue of trees bleeds into focus with maple seeds spinning slowly to the tarmac. A racing engine is heard before the blood red 1953 500F2 comes into focus. The evocative images recall a time when Ascari racing past would have swirled the leaves in his wake.

As the car sweeps past Rome’s Coliseum and disappears through a corner – it emerges as a glorious sounding 1967 312 V12 driven by ‘Chris Amon’ through New York. – past a yellow taxi driver drinking ‘cwoffee’ and into Times Square before it emerges on to: the waterlogged Wollongong Sea Cliff Bridge in Australia.fullview

The red missile parts the water as it flashes into a bright landscape and turns left into Hong Kong. ‘Jacky Ickx’ has now assumed control of this magnificent roller-coaster ride in his 1970 312B – its flat 12 engine singing its symphony once more.

The passing cacophony of sound causes the food vendor to jump before it enters a tunnel and emerges moments later into the Brazilian landscape of Rio De Janeiro as the 1997 V10 F310B. The statue of Christ does not have time to clasp his hands against the sound and nor do the beach dwellers who look on in shock.

The metamorphosis continues as we blast into Monaco in a F2003-GA and frighten perfectly coiffured poodles and their supercilious tax-evading owners. Having navigated the swimming pool – the car comes in for a fuel stop and polish before beginning the next instalment of history with the F2007.

Post Script:
The original production was to include London. Unsurprisingly the City of London Police and the Corporation of London blocked the plans because of fears of ‘public safety’…

10 responses to “On This Day in #F1: 20th February

  1. That was just amazing! Thanks so much for telling me what all the cars were… I have to admit to watching the video before reading what you wrote and I’m sitting there trying to work them out…

    Love the fact that the only sound was the engine too! Also the car alarm going off as it went past… well probably everything about it:)

    I had to watch it several times – then I read what you wrote:) Loved it!

  2. Ha! Fantastic commercial.
    And thank You Carlo for all Your efforts to turn Webbuary into Ferruary 😉

  3. Yep commercials are something bad and wasted time… but this one was the only one to ever get saved by me. If they’d only make every commercial like this. Nobody needed to see the actual shows or movies 😋

  4. I have to admit I got a couple of chills from the sights and sounds watching those cars seemingly at speed through the city streets. Nothing like the in-car Senna qualifying lap at Monaco but still. Very well made film.

  5. Another iconic advert was the Honda Impossible Dreams advert of 2005. Although not specifically motor racing based it was a fascinating review of Honda’s history and included the RC143 125cc GP bike, the RA272 1.5 F1 car and the BAR 007.

  6. Carlo Carluccio, thanks for reminding us of this commercial!

    I don’t think I’ve seen it since it was originally broadcast, and what a treat to revisit that epic footage.

    Spine-tingling is sometimes overused…but not in this case!!!

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