F1 has its quirky side, as Tim Collings reports
Mercedes team chief Ross Brawn this week revived his 'lucky haircut' habit ahead of Sunday's season-opening Qantas Australian Grand Prix.
The Briton, widely-regarded as one of the top pit-wall boffins in Formula One, has been a regular visitor to 'Aussie's' barber shop in Melbourne city centre for many years - and picked up a winning habit along the way.
His victories with Ferrari in Michael Schumacher's heyday and again in 2009, when his own Brawn GP outfit made a triumphant debut, all followed haircuts at Aussie's.
On each visit, he was looked after by stylist Mohamed, who performed his duties with pride and precision. He even ensured he had a photograph taken with Brawn after his annual Melbourne haircut.
"I was his lucky charm, I cut his hair and then his car would win the race," said Mohamed this week. "If he didn't come in, someone else won the race and when he came back and I cut his hair in 2009, he was winning again."
Unfortunately, Mohamed explained, he did not cut Brawn's hair this year, or last, because - after splitting with Aussie - he had set up his own barbers' shop in another part of the city.
"I haven't seen him so I don't know if he will find me and come in for a cut," he said. "Maybe he can't find us. I hope he does..."
Brawn, however, remained loyal to Aussie's and went back there for his trim. For the affable technical director, it was the place he always went for a cut -- and where his luck came from...
"As I understand it, they fell out and so when I went to Aussie's again, Mohamed wasn’t there...
It is one of those things. But I hope some of the old luck is still there!"