Monthly Archives: March 2010

Dreaming about a proper US Grand Prix

A night race across the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, with the main part of the circuit running around Brooklyn. Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. Now there’s a sight to behold. Fabiana, bless her heart, has cleverly doctored a picture of the Singapore night race against an East River backdrop. Just planted the idea again in some journo’s mind.

Alas, it’s not going to happen. The Yanks are famous for not being able to get their automotive act together. Let’s face it, this is the country that produced the Pontiac Aztek. Plus, a night race would be great of cousre but at that time only non-F1-loving Americans are awake. Bloody Yanks, can’t even get their timezone right.


You can accuse them of a lot of things, but subtlety’s not one of them. Although Renault strenuously denies it, everybody knows Vitaly Petrov wouldn’t be in the team if it weren’t for 15 million Euros. And since comrad Vitaly’s disastrous first race the noise has gotten worse.

So articles like this one start appearing. Brilliant PR. The main message is the headline, as it should be: “Petrov is not your average F1 pay driver.” You bet he ain’t. But why?

Well, these are Russians, so in case you didn’t get it immediately they’re prepared to spell it out for you: “Vitaly has not come into F1 because of the money, but because of the strategic interests of various companies”. Oh, and because of his driving talent. Ahem.

Strategic interest of various companies. Umm, right. The Russian companies themselves are not being named at this stage, obviously. They’d like to stay in the background. (Where have I heard that before? Ah yes, my Dutch friends who bought Saab.) But Renault, and anybody who keeps spreading these vicious rumours about Petrov being a pay driver: you are officially warned now. Shut up.

Jenson to F1: you’ve got two races to save the season

F1 to Jenson: you’ve got two races to save your neck.

(Note to readers: no, I don’t read The Sun. Someone sent me this. Also, don’t try this at home.)

Martin Sorrell calls

Amazing how many people read my blog. Sir Martin Sorrell (I’m really getting too many knightly calls these days) sits on the board of one of my fellow shareholders in F1 so I have to pay attention to him every now and then.

Yes this is Sir Martin and no, this picture has not been photoshopped

Sir Martin is pissed off because the H-word came up in conversation again and I didn’t grovel enough. He runs a shop called Wire Plastic Products that apparently has a sideline in advertising, which seems to give him some bragging rights as a marketing guru. Bernie, he says, it’s not what you say, it’s the image you project. People sense that you just don’t care enough about the holocaust. It just doesn’t cut it to call Hitler’s handiwork ‘disgusting’ and ‘unnecessary’ and then immediately switch to how much you admire his Autobahns.

This is a particular sensitivity with Sir Barrelhead since he is, you know, Jewish. Continue reading

Max calls

“Saw your interview,” he says. “I’ll tell you, Bernie, you have to watch your privacy more closely.” Privacy is his big thing these days, he has nothing else to do except cruising the courtrooms of Europe in order to get his own back at the tabloid press.

I say, tell me all about it, Max, and by the way you’re not calling from your dungeon I hope? You do sound hollow again.

“Problem is, Bernie, you don’t take enough control when dealing with the press hounds. It’s like a pack of wolves. You corral them and and deal with them as a group. Divide et impera, I tell you!”

I tell him my German is a bit rusty lately but I’ll look it up. Meanwhile, good luck with your privacy case and whatever else is keeping you busy lately.

Richard Branson calls

Seems he reads my blog. Sir Big Swinging Dick saw yesterday’s post about me being interviewed and thought I needed some advice. Told him I really didn’t need any, given that refusing any interviews seems a much better solution for me. ‘Great!’ he says and starts offering me his advice anyway.

“First, don’t prepare. Wing it. I’m looking at the body language in your photo and you look way too prepared. Stifles spontaneity.” Actually, too much spontaneity seems to me my real problem but there’s no stopping him. “Second, choose a dynamic setting. I often invite them to my island and give them a taste of the real life.” I don’t have an island but decide against telling him. He’s on a roll.

“Third, whatever you do, don’t look boring. Go parasailing with a naked girl on your back in full view of the cameras, anything but don’t look boring. Journalists love that. They’ll give you the best press ever.”

Parasailing with a naked girl? That’s the last straw. I find an excuse, tell him I hope he’ll get at least one car to the finish line in Melbourne and hang up.

Oops, I did it again!

I know, I know. I shouldn’t be giving interviews and I’m aware of it. But the bloke who approached me, Cole Moron or whatever his name is, had just published that great interview with Frank Lampard, one of my favourite soccer players.

So I guess I saw myself already in the Mail, wearing a spiffy suit and being portrayed as the billionaire bachelor.

And what do I get? This. Continue reading