Monday, December 14, 2020

Winners, Champers and Shoes

Driving to the shops yesterday I heard a news report . . . 

The 2020 Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix will be Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo’s last with Renault. After two years at Renault, Ricciardo is due to join McLaren for the 2021 Formula One World Championship. His team mate for 2021 is due to be Lando Norris who is currently set to be retained by the team. Ricciardo subsequently admitted to the media that before signing for McLaren he had held talks with Ferrari about taking over Sebastian Vettel's seat but Ferrari had instead signed Carlos Sainz Jr, who Ricciardo is replacing at McLaren. 

I am not a petrolhead of F1 enthusiast, I leave that to my daughter, Acacia,  pictured here in 2016 with Daniel Ricciardo: 

Here's a couple of introductory stills from the videos Acacia sent me from last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:

The news report had me thinking of Ricciardo’s penchant to toast his podium finishes with a “shoey”, skulling champagne out of his racing shoe and pressing his fellow podium finishers to share it with him. Ewww. 

Before you ask, I don't know whether my daughter has shared a shoe or two with Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo brought the shoey to Formula 1 in 2016, celebrating his second-place result at the German Grand Prix. He has stated that it is his attempt to bring some levity and entertainment to F1. He has managed to even have acting stars such as Patrick Stewart and Gerard Butler share a shoey with him. 

Lewis Hamilton joins Daniel Ricciardo in a 2020 shoey. "I was about to drink a beautiful fresh one and I heard Lewis saying 'take your other shoe off'," said Ricciardo. This was surprising in that Hamilton had declared in earlier years that he would never do it. He stated later that it tasted like “toe jam”. 

Gerard Butler’s shoey. 

From the Daily Mail Australia, May 1, 2018: 

The iconic Aussie celebration known as the 'shoey' has been trademarked by the owners of Formula One. The trademark was granted even though the shoey - in which beer or champagne is sculled from a shoe or boot - was invented by Aussie surfers 15 years ago. 

Twins Dean and Shaun Harrington, founders of cult surf brand The Mad Hueys, claim to have done shoeys as early as 2002, and a relative was first to trademark the term. 

The shoey then shot to worldwide fame after being performed by Perth racing driver Daniel Ricciardo and Italian MotoGP racer Valentino Rossi on the winning podium. 

F1 was granted their trademark on August 24 last year, and it came into effect in 25 countries on January 4, The Independent reported. 

The trademark applies to flasks, glasses, bottles, mugs, sculptures and figurines, and puts the F1 in conflict with the Australian surf industry entrepreneurs. 

The trademark application has led to suggestions F1 will soon be selling shoe-shaped drinking vessels or beer steins. 

The Gold Coast-based Mad Hueys describe themselves as a surfing and fishing crew and now sell clothing, merchandise and their own craft beer. 

In a 2016 interview the Harrington twins said the shoey was handed down to them by their ancestors at birth in 1985. 

'Daniel Riccardio. I was so proud of him. Sculled it like a true champion,' one of the twins told Stab Magazine. 

According to the article above:

News of the trademark caused outrage among Australian social media users, who insisted they would not let the trademark stop them performing the celebration.

'I'm still going to do a shoey when it's warranted and call it a shoey because it's a shoey, dude,' said one.

'Stop stealing Aussie intellectual property like drinking piss out of a sweaty shoe,' said another.

Whether there are historical precedents earlier than above can be saved for another day’s discussions. 

In the meantime, here is an item from the Bytes vault from October 15, 2011 on the origin of the winner’s ejaculatory celebration with champagne . . . 

Champagne and Podia 


- Following the presentation of the trophies, motorsport drivers will often spray champagne over each other and their team-members watching below, a tradition started by Dan Gurney following the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans race. 

- The drivers will generally refrain from spraying champagne if a fatality or major accident occurs during the event. 

- For the Bahrain Grand Prix, drivers do not spray the traditional champagne on the podium, although alcoholic beverages are legal in Bahrain. Instead, they spray a non-alcoholic rosewater drink known as Waard. 

- In the 1980s Alan Jones used to spray orange juice instead of champagne because the Williams team at the time was sponsored by Saudi Arabian companies and alcohol was forbidden by religion. 

- In France there was a law forbidding all advertising of alcohol products. In theory, the use of champagne on the F1 podium is an infringement of that law and one year the French refused to supply champagne. Annoyed, Bernie Ecclestone sent one of his assistants to a local supermarket on the morning of the race with instructions to buy bottles for champagne for the ceremony. If there was any legal action, Bernie said, he would face it. The champagne was sprayed and nothing happened. 

- Normally there is not much champagne left in a bottle when an F1 driver has sprayed it over the others and himself on the podium. Nonetheless the bottles can be very valuable and are sometimes kept and then signed by drivers for charity auctions. Others are given to mechanics as gifts. 

- A previous post dealt with the 1955 tragedy at the Le Mans 24 hour race, mentioning that Mike Hawthorn’s traditional spraying of champagne was met with scorn locally: 


The traditional podium victory celebration at the end of motor racing events screams sex and testosterone: skimpily clad females, the phallic spraying of champagne by alpha males over the spectators and each other, the victory celebration is even known as “mounting the podium”. Victoro spolia – “To the victor, the spoils.” 

The custom of giving winners champagne predates the 1955 race, winners having been provided a magnum of champagne which was then drunk and shared as a victory celebration. 

In 1967, Le Mans race winner Dan Gurney (with co driver A J Foyt) broke with that tradition and, in so doing, started another tradition. The Ferrari team had intended sending the Ford team back to the States without a podium finish but, in a huge upset, Gurney and Foyt won in the last remaining Ford out of 6 Fords that started the race. 

Handed the traditional magnum of champagne, Gurney looked down and saw Ford CEO Henry Ford 11, team owner Carroll Shelby and their wives, as well as several journalists who had predicted disaster for the high-profile duo. 

According to Gurney: 

I was so stoked that when they handed me the Magnum of Moet et Chandon, I shook the bottle and began spraying at the photographers, drivers, Henry Ford II, Carroll Shelby and their wives. It was a very special moment at the time, I was not aware that I had started a tradition that continues in winner's circles all over the world to this day. 

I was beyond caring, and I just got caught up in the moment. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments where things turned out to be right. You don't re-create those moments, but a hard-fought victory needs something. 

Gurney autographed and gave the bottle of champagne to a LIFE magazine photographer, Flip Schulke, who used it as a lamp for many years. He recently returned the bottle to Gurney, who kept it at his home in California. 

The bottle - enshrined in a glass case - is on display at All American Racers. On occasion it travels to auto shows or classic car concourse. 


1 comment:

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