Monthly Archives: August 2010


The new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English is out, and the vuvuzela steals the show. Most of the rest is a result of either climate change or the credit crunch. Nothing spectacular there, if you ask me.

Perhaps that’s why speculation is already rife about next year’s new entries. Well, my friends, I have a candidate: ecclestoning.

Ecclestoning is what’s done to visionary people who make a simple sport a runaway, global success, without paying too much attention to whingers and whiners along the way. Everybody becomes rich and famous but the whingers and whiners, vindictive and jealous malcontents as they are by nature, make a life’s effort of trying to stone the visionary for his efforts.

The visionary on his part has no choice but to become filthy rich in the process, as the continuous effort to escape stoning makes for a very expensive lifestyle. Private jets to stay ahead of the pack, super yachts for the quiet holidays along the Adriatic coast, and bodyguards to keep the malcontents at bay.

See here the story of my life. Continue reading

Koreans to world: do not mess with us

The lads in Kimchi or whatever it’s called just announced the official opening of the circuit on September 5th, comfortably in time for the Grand Prix on October 24th.

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Let me say this again: do not underestimate the Koreans. Ever. Top Gear did, skewering some unfortunate Hyundai model. The Koreans immediately struck back:

Now I can’t see Jeremy Clarkson any more without thinking of a moose. They didn’t forget The Stig either:

Journos, be warned. Write nicely about the Korean Grand Prix. Or else.

F1 is becoming even more women-friendly

Hardly have I cleared up matters with Danica Patrick, or Ferrari back me up with a purpose built hair dryer engine. Most powerful beastie on the market. Especially handy when you’ve just celebrated a podium finish with a champagne shower and need to look spiffy again for the post-race conference.

Top Gear have already road-tested it. Turns out, it beats an Audi R8 Convertible hands down.

Yes, I did mention Danica Patrick

One little remark, and everyone and his mate starts twittering like a flock of birds. “Ooh, Bernie dropped Danica’s name again.” “Blimey, did he say anything about household appliances or being dressed in white?” “No, he said she’d be an advert for F1.” “Does that mean he now thinks women can drive?”

No, I didn’t say anything of the kind. Let me run this by you one more time.

  1. Women still have a lot to prove when it comes to driving. Especially on race tracks.
  2. Until I saw one of them (this happened to be Danica) winning an Indycar race I thought they did not belong behind a wheel but should be dressed in white, like all the other household appliances.
  3. Still, these were Indycars. This is nothing compared to the huge effort you need to succeed in Formula One. So that bit’s not been proven yet.
  4. But still, she did win that Indy Japan 300. So Danica is ideally positioned to finally prove that women can succeed in F1 as well.

Not to mention it would draw flocks of American fans, of course. And you have to admit, she does look great in white.

Even Obama is preparing the US for F1

It’s amazing to see how Tavo’s recent announcement of the Austin circuit has galvanised the US. Everybody over there seems to look forward to seeing some real motor racing. Even the President himself traveled especially to Austin to hold a big speech, and he was in quite the automotive mood. Talked quite a bit about getting cars out of ditches and knowing how to drive.

There was one particular moment when he shared some deep thoughts that I will not keep from you. He said: “I want you guys to think about this. If you have a car and you want to go forward, what do you do? You put it in “D.” When you want to go backwards, what do you do? You put it in “R.” I’m just saying.”

Some people, especially American politicians, assign some superficial political meaning to this. Think he’s joking. “D” would stand for Democrat, and “R” for Republican or something. Which isn’t funny of course. No gearbox was ever designed with names of political parties in mind. Can you imagine, driving a car with “T” for Tories and “L” for Labour?

No, I know better. There’s some profound wisdom here. I’m going to have this framed and hang it on my office wall.

This’ll never work

Memo for Top Gear: it’s a good idea to bring automotive civilisation to the US, and we welcome your support in this noble cause. Really. We’re in the middle of it, and we’ll need all the help we can get. So thank you for that.

But attempting to export British humour to the ex-colonies? Please! Don’t even try. Many tried before you and failed miserably. Even Monty Python couldn’t pull it off. How can you even think that the antics of Clarkson, Hammond and Captain Slow will survive mauling by American accents?

If you feel strong enough, watch the video and weep.

I rest my case.

The Schumi storm is still raging

Schumi fans seen changing their minds

You’d think that the bully-gate brouhaha would be smothered in the silly Summer season by now. (Bernie, don’t quit your day job – ed.)

But despite, or maybe because of cucumber time, the debate rages on. See here, here and here, for instance. Even his fans seem to be turning away. It’s gotten so bad, the Germans found it necessary to trot out brother Ralf to tell mankind Michael’s not a sociopath.

Simmer down, people. I’ll talk to Michael and he’ll be a good boy from Spa onwards.

Mark Webber the management guru

First I get this publicity photo in the mail, next thing I know Mark calls me. “Bernie, d’you think this looks corporate enough?”

Mark, I tell him, if a Hugo Boss perfume ad looks corporate, then yes this is corporate. And if the toy-boy-with-a-five-o’clock-shadow isn’t what you have in mind, then why don’t you just try a white Emporio Armani shirt, black slacks and tie? Always works for me.

He says, no offence Bernie but you always dress the same. Not my style. Plus, I have different lives now.

How so, Mark?

Bernie mate, believe me or not but I’ve become a bit of a management guru. I’ve made it all the way to the Harvard Business Review. Have you heard of it? It’s the most prestigious management rag in the world, and I’m a business case! How’s that for recognition?

This makes me feel proud. I may not be a team boss any more, but my drivers are a bit like my children. Great to see them moving up in the world. And you’re right Mark, shirt and tie is for old farts like me.

Those were the days

Summer breaks always make me reminisce of old times, when cars and circuits were beautiful, drivers weren’t wimps and whingers, and even photographers were courageous. Look at this little tableau at the famous Virage du Paradis (ah, the name alone), just before the final straight in Rouen-les-Essarts, during the French Grand Prix of 1964.

I know, I know, this was before safety was invented. But still.

(Thanks, loyal reader David, for the photo.)

Talking about cucumbers

I mentioned cucumber time in my previous post. It’s when journos are bored stiff, and desperate because they’ve nothing to report.

This year seems to be particularly bad. Yesterday the poor lads at the Beeb were so bleedin’ bored that they actually made a 1m45s video item (more than the average lap in a Grand Prix) reporting the following:

  1. The other day there was a stag party where people went naked. (30s)
  2. Look, here they are. A boat full of naked people. (15s)
  3. Look, the newspapers have it too. They show the same shot of a boat full of naked people. (15s)
  4. Radio Bristol had a quick chat with the groom who was on the boat full of naked people. (15s)
  5. Listen to the groom saying, yes we went on a boat and it was full of naked people. (15s)
  6. (Morale – it’s the BBC after all) If you go on a stag party, don’t go on a boat full of naked people. (15s)