Donkey Does F1 (partially found photos of Shrek character inflatable at Formula One races; 2004)
During Jaguar Racing's final season of Formula One (F1) in 2004, one of its mechanics took an inflatable of Shrek character Donkey won as part of a contest held by Ribena to F1 events. From the Belgian Grand Prix to the season finale at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the inflatable would be present in the F1 paddock, with numerous photos being taken of it.
Jaguar Racing was a Formula One team owned by Ford that competed in Formula One from the 2000 to 2004 seasons. After generally underachieving in the sport, Ford considerably lowered the team's budget for its final season, before the team was sold and became Red Bull Racing from 2005 onwards. In an attempt to gain positive PR, Jaguar would engage in a variety of stunts throughout the season, including promoting the film Ocean's Twelve at the Monaco Grand Prix by inserting two $300,000 diamonds on the nosecones of each car, driven by Mark Webber and Christian Klien. After Klien crashed out on the opening lap, the diamond on his car went missing and was never recovered.
Later that season, a team member entered a competition held by Ribena, which was giving away thousands of prizes related to the upcoming animated film Shrek 2. They were victorious, with their reward being an inflatable of the character Donkey. In an attempt to boost morale and distract themselves from the very possibility they would be made redundant following the season's conclusion, a mechanic took or according to Tim Malyon, stole the inflatable, with it travelling from the team's headquarters in Milton Keynes to Spa-Francorchamps.
Donkey Does F1
Initially, the inflatable was to have been exclusively present at the Belgian Grand Prix for a single photoshoot. However, it became a symbol of resistance for the team, who were increasingly disillusioned with the running of the team, which reached a boiling point when Ford announced on 17th September that it would put Jaguar up for sale, potentially risking over 300 jobs. While Jaguar's PR team banned the inflatable from appearing at any subsequent races for fear it would damage the team's reputation, Donkey would travel to the remaining races for more photoshoots. This included photos of it being within the cockpits of each constructor's car, as well as light-hearted and occasionally risqué interactions with other team members.
At the season finale at Brazil, it was announced the inflatable would be auctioned off to help benefit Children in Need. Therefore, its owners requested that the majority of drivers plus Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone sign the inflatable, which they all agreed to. The only driver that did not was Michael Schumacher, because for unknown reasons he was not invited to. Nevertheless, the 2004 Champion and Ferrari driver would be involved in a humorous moment during the end of season photo session, whereupon noticing teammate Rubens Barrichello had placed Donkey on his seat, proceeded to sit on Barrichello's lap, much to Barrichello's and the other drivers' amusement. After being sold for Children for Need, Donkey would again be put up for sale in December 2005. The whereabouts of the inflatable as of the present day remains unknown.
The majority of photos would be available on the official Donkey Does F1 website, although at least one depicting the inflatable with two Jordan mechanics was removed for being too risqué. The site would later be taken down, and although archived by the Wayback Machine, most of the links to the photos present on the site cannot be accessed. Additionally, a CD containing all the photos exists, but its whereabouts are unknown.
Formula One Media
- 1953 British Grand Prix (partially found footage of Formula One race; 1953)
- 2005 San Marino Grand Prix (partially found ITV advert break during final laps of Formula One race; 2005)
- F-1 World Grand Prix III (lost build of cancelled Nintendo 64 Formula One racing game; 2000-2001)
- F1 2010 (lost pre-alpha build of Formula One game; 2010)
- F1 Racing Championship 2 (lost build of cancelled PC/PlayStation 2 Formula One game; 2001)
- Fernando Alonso's 2015 testing accident (lost footage of Formula One test session crash; 2015)
- Grand Prix 3 (lost build of cancelled Dreamcast port of PC Formula One racing game; 2001)
- Grand Prix 4 (lost build of cancelled Xbox port of PC Formula One racing game sequel; 2002)
- McLaren MP4-18 (lost footage of unraced Formula One car; 2003)
- Racing Arrows (partially found Formula One TV series; 2001)
- Robert Kubica's 2010 Japanese Grand Prix Q3 lap (lost audio of Formula One qualifying lap; 2010)
- Williams FW15C (partially found footage and lap time information of unraced CVT Formula One car; 1993)
- HP PhotoSmart 945 (lost "Shrek" tie-in commercial for camera product; existence unconfirmed; 2003/2004)
- Shrek (partially found "I Feel Good" animation test of CGI-animated film; 1996)
- Shrek (partially found original Chris Farley dialogue of CGI-animated comedy film; 1990s)
- Shrek (partially found original Mike Myers performance from CGI-animated comedy film; 1999-2000)
- Formulinos detailing the Donkey Does F1 story. Retrieved 5th Jul '22
- Independent reporting on Ford putting up Jaguar Racing for sale. Retrieved 5th Jul '22
- The Guardian reporting on Jaguar being sold to Red Bull. Retrieved 5th Jul '22
- The Sportsrush detailing the Ocean's Twelve diamond stunt at the Monaco Grand Prix that left one $300k diamond missing. Retrieved 5th Jul '22
- Briskoda post discussing the inflatable being banned by Jaguar, only to attend later races anyway. Retrieved 5th Jul '22