Ferrari’s preparations for next year’s F1 season have been shaken by a management ultimatum to technical director Ross Brawn. Bosses at the Italian team have insisted that they cannot maintain a satisfactory working relationship with the British engineering maestro until he decides whether he has facial hair or not.
“Ferrari management have been very tolerant of Ross’s shaving policy,” said one insider, “but the team is determined to be more focussed than ever next season and that must be reflected in our staff’s grooming routines.” Brawn’s beard has had a chequered past, having disappeared several times in the past, only to re-appear looking as if it was being grown yet somehow remaining at an awkward ‘not quite stubble or a full beard’ stage for weeks on end.
“Ferrari team management have become sick of people asking if Ross has a beard,” says another Marenello mole, “In some lights you can hardly see it at all. In others you might be forgiven for thinking he just hasn’t shaved for five days. Then you’ll see him on TV and swear that he is, in fact, a man with a beard. But a rather vague one.”
However, some commentators suggest that the Prancing Horse team is being too hasty: “People with vague beards do have a history of success,” notes Dr Mack Threa, head of hair studies at the San Francisco Institute of, Like, Stuff, “Look at Dave Richards or Alan Sugar, for example. On the other hand, it does make you look like a scruffy twat.”
This story was originally published in November 2001