Category Archives: F1

The Forces of Evil are gathering

I re-watched Lord of the Rings the other day. Why is this relevant? Because it very much resembles what’s happening around F1 right now.

You’ve got this Evil Eye sitting on some bloody mountain. It wants to take over the world and has found a lackey in the person of the evil wizard Rupert Murdoch, seen here staring at his management reporting screen. The Evil Eye in the distance might be John ‘Sauron’ Elkann but I’m not sure yet. I will be if it indeed turns out to be true that his transsexual cocaine laced brother Lapo gets the keys to Ferrari. God help us all when that happens.

Welcome to my world. Really, you don’t make these things up.

Anyway, I had a quick talk with my old friend Luca ‘Da Godfather’ Montezemelemololo, not so long ago. Asked him if it was true. No Bernie, he said, it’s not. ‘Not at all, or not yet?’ I asked. Continue reading

Rupert and Carlos: you can have F1 if you take it from my cold, dead hands

Some of you may have read about persistent rumours of an impending takeover of F1 by Rupert Murdoch and Carlos Slim.

I have a message to Messrs Murdoch and Slim: you have no idea what or who you’re dealing with.

First, there’s me. I’m not sure if you’ve read any newspapers during the last few decades (well, Murdoch’s read The Sun, of course), but if you haven’t, here’s the news: the first bloke who beats me at negotiating has yet to be born. I know, I know, you’re a bunch of wily old foxes who’ve made a billion or two playing the markets, but trust me, if you haven’t been inside the world of motor racing, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Ask anybody who’s been around F1. Anybody at all.

And then there’s the sport itself. Mind you, F1 is not a market: it’s a sport. One that happens to be owned by me. (I know I’ve said it before but here it is again, just in case you didn’t get the message.) There’s a difference, and it matters. Let me explain.

Markets are populated by pitiful little people who have few interests except making money. They have no imagination and very little intellect. So they’re easy to play. Formula One, on the other hand, Continue reading

Making F1 more lively, revisited

Truth is stranger than fiction, as we all know. I still remember being ridiculed when suggesting shortcuts and other unorthodox means to make F1 more lively, back when everybody and his mate had their balls in a knot over boring Bahrein.

Well, here’s something nobody thought of yet. Even me. Although in hindsight, Mark Webber came close. Note to self: call Hermann Tilke to see if he can build a couple of humps like these in the Austin circuit.

[Thanks autoblog.com, for bringing this to my attention.]

Another one bites the dust

Many people in the Hungaroring paddock ask me what I think about the latest aborted attempt to get a US team into F1. I have only one answer to that: what attempt?

This Cypher Group or whatever they’re called not being able to rustle up the necessary capital tells me that there’s still a shred of common sense among US investors. Who in his right mind would dump countless millions into an outfit that sits thousands of miles away from the necessary technology and know how to get a proper F1 racer on the track?

But Bernie, I hear you say. The United States are a technologically advanced country. Surely they have all that’s needed to build race cars?

Well, they may have it but they’re bloody well not using it. Their main series still races with carburettor cars. Carburettors! Outside the US, Africa and some parts of Southeast Asia nobody under 35 has ever seen one. OK, I’m forgetting Russia. It’s an engine technology that dates from the 19th century, which makes it even older than me. Nobody, or nothing in F1 should be older than me.

And why do NASCAR prefer carburettors? Because it’s easier to regulate. Thing is, some of their biggest races are on ovals, where you don’t need to actually drive a car. You just need to propel it with great speed along a pre-determined trajectory, so all that matters is engine power. Try to imagine, outdated race cars with Vietnamese suspension hurtling along a giant oval with speeds of up to 200 miles an hour. NASCAR’s answer to this is restrictor plates. It’s a metal plate with holes that you stick in the middle of a carburettor. Who needs high-tech when you can get away with power tools?

But the thing they fear most is Continue reading

You’re the boss

I’ve been reading all these blog comments on the Ferrari team order brouhaha, and it’s amazing how quickly people seem to end up with blaming me.

Just to avoid any misunderstanding: I’m the Formula One Supremo. I’m not the boss of everything in F1. There’s a difference. Let me explain.

To begin with, I don’t call the shots in the teams. That’s the job of the team bosses. So if Ferrari issues team orders, it’s types like Luca di Montezemelemololo or Stefano Domenicali who are responsible for that. Not me. I may have an opinion about it (more about that later), but that’s another matter.

If you are now wondering who’s the real boss in Formula One if it isn’t me, just look at my simple F1 organisation chart. It’s you.

You, my beloved legion of fans, my loyal audience, are the real boss. So everything that happens in F1 is ultimately your responsibility. I’m merely the humble Supremo who does your bidding and makes sure, one way or another, that the rest falls in line.

But Bernie, I hear you ask, you have never had a real education. How did you arrive at this bold conclusion? What kind of management theory underpins your statement? Well, my friends, I have a simple answer for that too. For I am above all a practical person. It is strict adherence to management practice that has brought me to where I am now. And management practice can be described in two words: Continue reading

The five golden rules for F1 Team entries

Just got a call from Zoran Stefanovich. Apparently watching the on-track excitement of late has the same effect on him as it has on Flavio: he’s dying to get his share of the fun. Stefan GP’s botched entry into F1 has been marred by bad luck and mistakes; and to add insult to injury, FIA’ve reopened the selection process to fill the vacancy left by the US F1 morons in 2011, forcing him to start over from zero.

So for Stefan’s benefit, and all those who’ve rediscovered their boyhood ambitions to become part of the pinnacle of propulsion, the apex of automotive entertainment, the ultimate pleasure of racing the world’s most advanced automobiles around the world’s most consummate circuits (we get it, we get it – ed.): here are the five golden rules for aspiring teams to get themselves a slot or two on the grid.

Continue reading

Just heard the magic words

There’s always a point in the race where the commentator uses the words “all the way to the checkered flag.” We just reached that point. This one’s in the bag for the Red Bull lads, apparently. Except for Alonso blowing up his engine, that is. But that didn’t matter much anyway. F1 Supremo checking out.

The rain I ordered is not being delivered…

… And I was really clear about it. I guess it’s time to become more serious about these Chinese rain cannon. You can’t trust the climate these days,

This Travolta thing has worked out very well

I’m getting a lot of excitement from people who saw John Travolta strutting around Albert Park like a peacock that just swallowed a particularly juicy earthworm. Wasn’t easy, you know. It’s a bit of a handful to have an overconfident narcissistic gazillionaire waving the Checkered Flag. But all in all it seems to be good for business, so it’s definitely worth repeating. Another Italian job for Charlize Theron, maybe?

Sigh.

Which reminds me, it’s another sign that Hollywood and F1 make a great combination. Rest assured, dear friends, there will be more of that in your future. Watch this space, as they say in Tinseltown.

Team orders? Oh please

Talk about wind socks. I can still vividly remember the outrage about team orders when Barrichello had to let Schumacher pass for points, in Austria in 2002. People were baying for blood and the FIA, finding out there was nothing illegal here, slapped a million dollar fine on the lot of them for podium abuse. Those were the days, my friend.

Anyway, thought that was clear. So who can describe my utter astonishment when I see morons like Martin Brundle, who of all people should know better, blathering about how Ferrari should’ve told Massa to let Alonso pass so he could attack Kubica and Button.

Alonso's head on this platter, please

Massa? Letting Alonso pass? Have you taken leave of your senses, Martin? So far things ‘ve been fairly civilised, with Felipe and Fernando being the biggest pals in the world and all that crap, especially when the TV cameras are running and the little red light is on. But we’re all waiting for the explosion. Except Brundle, apparently.

This is what you get when race drivers become bloody journos. Not only do they report, they also have an opinion. And the worst is yet to come. The BBC are now grooming David ‘Pundit’ Coulthard to be their next star. Almost makes me think of retirement.