Friends and fellow F1 fans, meet Stirling Moss, or Sir Stirling as we know him these days. Stirling is one of the unblemished heroes of our sport, and the greatest champion that never was. A true gentleman, even to the point of defending his greatest rival Mike Hawthorn against an unfair penalty, effectively handing him the title.
But that is not the point I want to make today. For Sir Stirling was renowned for another quality: true grit. No pampered life for Stirling, no private jets and multimillion dollar motorhomes. Stirling drove himself to the races. And in between winning one Grand Prix after another he had no qualms with doing the odd endurance race, winning 10 hour Mille Miglias or 7 hour 1000km Nuerburgrings singlehandedly, the latter three years in a row.
And he was not the only one. Juan Manuel Fangio, another true gentleman, and the aforementioned Mike Hawthorn, to name but a few, were of the same ilk. These were real men. Some say that the outlines of their left nipples were the shape of Nuerburgring, that when they slowed down, brake lights came on in their buttocks, and went they went for a wee they pissed pure motor oil, to paraphrase a popular TV programme. Wimps they were not.
Toronto Montreal was a great race because of tyre degradation, and many hoped that the Bridgestone lads would repeat the performance in Valencia. So much even that Bridgestone found it necessary to apologise in advance for an uneventful, Bahrain type race.
But thanks to Mark Webber the public got once again what it came for: great racing, and great spectacle. Although Heikki might disagree somewhat. (Thanks reader David, for the aptly chosen photo.)
This is ridiculous. I haven’t posted on my blog for a week or two and promptly I need to deny rumours of my death or retirement. Which in my case is synonymous, if you missed my interview with Bild am Sonntag.
It’s actually quite funny, if you have my sense of humour. The krauts’ headline was actually ‘Bernie reveals his new love’ but apparently the English media were more obsessed with reports of my death. Which were an exaggeration, as the famous English poet Mark Twain said.
“I’d die if I retired,” headlined Autocar. Their German isn’t that good apparently, because what I actually said was “To retire means to die” as Crash.net and most of the others blurbed. There’s a difference, you know.
But anyway, the most important message is out: I’m very much alive, thank you. Alive and kicking around with my newfound love Fabiana. And this may sound complicated to many of you, but no it’s not this Fabiana. I keep private and work strictly separate. Although it’s convenient that they have the same name, of course.
I know these are difficult times. You’ve been bailing out banks, car companies and insurance conglomerates, to the tune of trillions of dollars. You’ve been hit by a recession, you’re almost singlehandedly supporting two wars and now there’s a whole gulf to clean up as well. Sometimes I wonder how you manage. I’m glad I’m not an economist.
That’s why I appreciate it all the more that you still can find time and the odd couple of millions to make sure we at Formula One Management have enough income from the new US Grand Prix. Starting a whole new event is risky, especially in view of the fact that you need to guarantee our annual 25 million dollar fee before a single ticket has been sold. I know, that doesn’t make it any easier.
But in the spirit of the true American entrepreneur you’ll go for it, against all odds. I appreciate that, I really do. You see, I too was once an entrepreneur. Now I’m a billionaire Formula One supremo and I’m glad I don’t need to take that kind of risk any more.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.
I know, I know, by posting this I do exactly what everybody should stop doing. Seriously, people, is there nothing else to write about F1, the greatest sport spectacle in the world?
Frankly, if you want to know why I keep saying we should revv up to 24 races per season, here’s one of the biggest reasons why: it keeps the period between races to a minimum so the inspiration-starved journos don’t need as long to move on to the next subject. For chrissakes, how long has it been, bit more than a week now? It seems like a month.
Listen everybody, the definitive article on Webber vs Vettel was written four days ago. Great job by my favourite old hack Kevin Eason, leaves nothing to be said. End of discussion.
Maybe I should quit reading F1 news and commentaries. Especially the latter. I thought we’d reached the end of the line on the Webber-Vettel circus when Max weighed in, but a day later another voice from the past reared its ugly head. (I know, I always mix metaphors when I’m pissed off.)
Jos Verstappen. Says Vettel’s to blame and it’s political. For those who don’t know: Verstappen is a failed F1 driver who left the field almost a decade ago. We used to call him the ‘gravel specialist’ because that’s where he spent most of his racing time.
Listen to old Clint, Jos. Go back to whatever you’re doing these days: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
‘Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has one.’ If you thought you’d heard everyone’s arsehole on the Webber-Vettel incident by now, think again.
Last week it was Max’s turn. He should know better as he’s a past master of the ‘play the journos’ game, but apparently when some German rag interviewed him he couldn’t contain himself. Makes him look pathetic, of course. He’s stepped aside, enjoying retirement (in his dungeon, I bet) and pretending he doesn’t want to reign over his grave. And here he is, showing off his German and throwing his weight around over a little incident well after everybody else has weighed in. Probably has to do with his being thick as thieves with Red Bull’s owner, Dietrich Mateschitz.
I had him on the phone shortly after, asked him how’s life with your nose up Mateschitz’s arse? I could hear him smile, and he said “Come on, Bernie, you should know better than that. I form my own opinions, and in this case mine just happens to coincide with Dietrich’s.”
“Dietrich’s.” This tells me volumes. He’s up to one of his little games again. Mark my words, we haven’t heard the last of this.
Either that, or give Webber and Vettel a wheel nut upgrade.
I’d really wish there were as much interest in US F1 inside the US as there seems to be outside of it. Everybody and his mate keeps buggering me about Austin, Texas. Why Austin? Why not Monticello or Las Vegas? Is it a done deal? Will they be able to build a circuit? If so, where?
Listen, my friends: the way it works is this. I do the deal, others do the homework. And I only do the deal if I trust the blokes who were supposed to do the homework to’ve done it properly. It’s that simple. Plus, there has to be enough money in it of course, but that’s stating the bleedin’ obvious. We’re talking F1 here, the biggest money machine in sports. So Tavo Hellmund says he’s done the homework, and since I’ve known his father since we were both wearing plus-fours I trust him. End of story. The rest I leave to the experts. Full throttle, my boys!
I’m not one to care much for justification after the fact anyway. Austin in the middle of three big population centres?If you say so. City of 1.3 million people with the right demography? Demography’s fine by me. Republicans would’ve been fine too.
Most important thing is, the money’s on the table and a group of people I trust is busy making it work. That’s why I went into business with Tavo, and in case you were wondering, that’s why Hermann Tilke is the one designing the circuit. Tried and trusted, is my motto.
That’s how you become a supremo, and that’s how you stay one.