For most Brazilians, football is almost a religion in itself. Last summer, as Felipe Massa contemplated his impending retirement, F1 Racing asked him whether he would prefer to be Formula 1 world champion, or the winning scorer for Brazil in a World Cup final. It was a question freighted with what-might-have-beens, since Massa was champion-elect for a few fleeting moments in the final grand prix of 2008.
Weighing his answer carefully, Massa replied that F1 is his first love and the world title would always come first... but, like the rest of Brazil, he adores his national team and club football. We left it at that, imagining that since he was about to cruise off into the sunset, we'd never get a chance to put his footballing acumen to the test.
And yet here we are, thanks to Massa's decision to un-retire from F1 and a tie-up with Premier League champions Chelsea, engineered by Williams's sponsor Rexona - better known in the UK as antiperspirant brand Sure. Most drivers greet the prospect of partner appearances with a sigh, moving to impatient tetchiness as their interest wanes (unless the activity involves driving). It's then they need to be reminded who pays the bills. No need for that today, though.