It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

By on Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's only two weeks until the big day. Here are some of the conventional F1 related presents and some unusual ones...

The F1 season may only have finished two weeks ago, but the season review DVD is usually a successful stocking filler. Featuring highlights of all nineteen races, the review is also available on Blu Ray for the first time, although will not be released until Boxing Day. Commentary comes from the legendary Ben Edwards with Will Buxton.

If reading is more your forte, then the official season review book is for you. With the foreword from Bernie Ecclestone, this 272 page review contains reports, news and plenty of statistics with which to relive an exciting season. The review is available in all good bookstores and some shoddy ones as well.

Aside from official products, there is also a plethora of merchandising available from each team (yes, even HRT sell shirts, who knew?). Here’s some of the best.

Red Bull has plenty of ‘2011 world champions’ goodies, including shirts, caps, mugs  and there’s even a lot of ‘2010 world champions’ stock going cheaply.

You can buy a Sebastian Vettel helmet keyring (although, it won’t be one he ever wears), as well as bandanas and an umbrella. However, the pick of the bunch is a foam finger. Yes, they give them out at some events, but this one is made to look like you are the amiable German after yet another victory. Toro Rosso products are also available on the site, but they’ll be of inferior quality…

P1 Sebastian...

The good news for McLaren fans is that there is a 50% sale on some items, including shirts, caps and even technical earphones. However, McLaren has a special ‘Christmas gifts’ section ranging from a replica nosecone of Hamilton’s MP4-26 to a limited edition belt. Both are rather expensive and if you linger around circuits long enough, you’ll find a real version of the former before long when he has his next collision. If you really want to splash out, there’s several 1/8 scale models available. At just over £3,000.

The Ferrari store (look, ‘store’; it’s more fancy than just a ‘shop’) may have taken several thousand hours to load, but as with everything Ferrari, there’s lots available. There are kids go karts, emblazoned  with several logos of the Spanish bank to make a child feel as if they are indeed Fernando Alonso. If they begin to throw a tantrum, it would be hard to tell the difference.

This pendant is a bargain at only £2100...

Ferrari shirts are available in several colours: the black looks sleek, although anything other than red would just feel wrong. If you’re buying for your other half, then she – or he (no questions asked) – may like a Prancing Horse pendant. Much like McLaren’s large models, it will set you back a couple of thousand pounds. There’s so much on the Ferrari store that you could spend all day looking and quite frankly begin to feel slightly irritated at how expensive everything is.

Mercedes’s shirts are smart in black and white although are probably not a fan favourite. Most teams sell teddy bears, although the Mercedes one is a personal favourite as he looks a bit like a pilot from the war. With the team virtually Anglo-German, let’s hope that isn’t too suggestive.

Yes, you really can buy this...

Lotus’s 2012 collection might be more popular than their 2011 lot as Kimi Raikkonen has a rather larger fan base than Nick Heidfeld did. Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov merchandise is in the sale, and will probably have further reductions over the coming weeks. There are replica helmets and race suits, so for £4000 you could look like Vitaly Petrov. The most exciting product though is a cartoon book of their 2011 season, featuring several leading F1 figures. Nick Heidfeld does make an appearance, but not on the front cover. Wonder why.

Force India’s official store relocates to Reebok, one of their sponsors, meaning that you can buy shoes in orange, green and white. The website was quite frankly useless and uncooperative, so there’s probably some exciting products but they wouldn’t load.

Sauber's dog. Right....

If you are excited by products that are available in such colours as white or grey, then look no further than Sauber’s shop. To emphasise their lack of sponsorship, most clothing products feature the driver’s name in massive writing and a huge number, either 16 or 17 depending on said driver. The Kamui Kobayashi shirt is suitably Japanese and you can still buy Pedro de La Rosa caps for under £5. Most bizarre is that Sauber has avoided the teddy bear route and instead made a dog that has floppy ears and looks very enthusiastic.

There’s a sale on at Williams with 50% off on shirts, caps and even a mug. Williams’s version of the teddy bear is far cheaper than their rivals, although he does look thoroughly fed up at how the team has fared in 2011. Nothing exciting catches the eye, with colours ranging from dark blue to slightly darker blue with the odd white shirt in between.

Have you ever seen a teddy bear look more fed up than this?

The rather fetching green and yellow look is in at Team Lotus (yes, still Team Lotus, no Caterham merchandise yet) with some rather different products. There’s a USB stick in the shape of an F1 car and also an iPhone case. Other brands are not available. Shirts, caps and trainers are still expensive, especially for a name that will disappear next season, as are die cast models, at £50 for a 1/43 scale of Jarno Trulli’s car.

HRT does have merchandise, although it’s only available through other websites. So for the three people out there who want one of their shirts, keep looking. Marussia Virgin has a cheap beanie that should keep you warm in the winter months, although a price discrepancy on their shirt is confusing. It doubles in price depending on what web page you view it on. Their memorabilia section is currently empty (wonderfully ironic) and some accessories are reduced in price, including a red and black laptop sleeve.

So there you have it. If you know an F1 fan, there’s plenty to buy them for Christmas. Be quick though, because the final days for dispatch will be very soon. However, expect your wallet to take a battering, that’s for sure.

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