He comes right to the point. “I beg you to stop trying to trap the gullible people into visiting races in the North American empire,” he says. “You have many more fans in South America. It is your moral duty to add a race in Venezuela.”
I’m a little taken aback by that. Until this moment in my life I’ve never been aware of having any moral duties. But one of my life’s rules is never to contradict a dictator so I tell him I’ll look into it.
“I mean it, Mr Ecclestone,” he says. We have Mr Pastor Maldonado, an excellent Venezuelan driver, and I assure you Petróleos de Venezuela will be happy to sponsor him. And Isla de Margerita is a perfect venue for your Grand Prix de las Americas.”
Grand Prix de las Americas? “You have a European Grand Prix, no? The one in Valencia? Well, you should have an American one as well. The Grand Prix of the Americas. And it should be in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which is representative of all the freedom loving nations in the Americas.”
I see. Well, he does have a point. Except of course Europe is just an excuse to have two Grand Prix in one country and very little else. And I’m not at all sure what Bolivia has to do with all this. But he seems the kind of chap who gets things done so I decide to let it go.
“Thank you for your excellent advice, Your Excellency,” I say. I will look into this and you will hear from us shortly.