Okay, pay attention at the back, especially if you think Formula 1 Grand Prix racing begins and ends with Michael Schumacher. There have been world champions other than the red baron. The reigning best driver in the world happens to be a 24-year-old Spaniard who lives in Oxford.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve has made the newsworthy jump from the cockpit of his BMW Sauber day job to a recording studio. Given his driver's salary and Montreal restaurant, it's reasonable to assume that he's not recording music for the money. What's he up to, and is he up to much?
The French-Canadian was out of contract at the end of 2005 as BMW took control of the team he'd signed for, the privateer Sauber outfit. Other less interesting drivers would've looked to a different racing category perhaps, or a team management role with which to fill the spare time. Villeneuve, son of the legendary Gilles, went into a studio with some mates and made a record.
The first indication of what to expect of the recording sessions that produced an album - a "tasty acoustic rock" record, we're told, that's out later this year internationally - comes with this debut single, Accepterais-tu? Limited to 5,000 physical copies, but also available on iTunes, it was originally intended for the Quebec market, but worldwide interest flared amongst F1 fans when the sport's news outlets pointed out his MySpace page.
Should he be sent packing back to his cockpit? The short answer is, no. Accepterais-tu? (translation: Would You Accept?) is a simply structured ditty comprised of basic acoustic guitar chords, Hammondesque keyboard filler, rhythm section and Villeneuve's carefree vocals. His delivery sits somewhere between the packed French phrases of Jacques Brel and a surfer dude's demo tape. The French lyrics read like a marriage proposal - and as Villeneuve has just got hitched, it's entirely possible he wrote the piece for his better half. Which is rather sweet, even if it's possibly a little sappy for universal acclaim.
Does it mean an alternative career beyond F1 circuits for the colourful driver-cum-musician? Whether or not it does, combining the glamour of F1 with the glamour of the music scene does Villeneuve's profile no harm at all - and if Accepterais-tu? helped get him hitched while enjoying himself, at the very least one has to admire his style.