“Hi mate,” he says. “Heard you were a bit pissed off about our little stunt in Whitehall this morning. Just wanted to let you know, that’s all it was. Didn’t mean to offend anyone. Our PR people call it a viral. You do something funny, have a couple of cameras at the ready, shoot a video, put it on YouTube, and everybody with a desk job starts watching it instead of doing their jobs. Loads of fun!
“Seems McLaren have been doing this lately and everybody loves it. Made our PR people a bit jealous so they wanted to pull a stunt like that too.”
I say, Mark, McLaren had Jenson and Lewis put a chassis back together or slobber around in a warehouse full of cars. That’s indoors, melts people’s hearts and doesn’t bother anybody. Doing pitstops in the middle of London opens a can of worms. People call me with questions, think you’re racing around in streets or something. Can’t have that. All of a sudden everyone and his brother wants a street race and I end up fielding calls at all hours from loser cities who want one too. So please tell the lads to cut it out.
Will do, Bernie, he says. Dontcha worry. Meanwhile our PR flack wants me to read something out to you that’ll take the edge off. Listen up, mate, will ya?
Then he goes, “Ahem. As a team, we practice and perform pit stops in all sorts of conditions around the world but this has been a really unique experience, one I imagine won’t be repeated. We’ve only got a week to go before Silverstone so what better way to practice under pressure than outside the Houses of Parliament.”
I sigh. Mark, I say, listen to me carefully. Don’t give up your day job. You know I value you highly as a driver. Stick to it. And stick to designated circuits. And tell your PR flacks to go and screw someone else.
So this is what happens when the PR journos take over. Thank God it’s Friday.