My phone rings, and a voice says: is this Bernard Charles Ecclestone, Supremo of Formula One? Please aahdentifaah yerself. Yes, I say, I am he. Who wants to know? But the voice says: hold on for the Prezdint of the Yoownaahded States of ‘Merica. Then nothing. All I hear is a vague buzzing noise, like you hear on board of an aeroplane.
“Hello Mr Ecclestone,” he says “Greetings from Air Force One. Can I call you Bernie?” Well, I say, if you must. Most people call me Mr E, but I guess from one Supremo to the other it should be all right. “Great! And I’m Barry, by the way.”
Pleased to meet you, Barry. How can I help you?
“How difficult is it to drive an F1 car?” he asks. “You see, I ‘ve recently started working on my foreign policy, what with healthcare and the mid term elections out of the way, and I couldn’t help but notice that driving an F1 car is becoming an accepted pastime. How difficult is it?”
Well, I say, people spend years working their way up from kart racing, all the way through the feeder series. Some never make it at all, it’s only for a selected few. May I ask, have you ever driven stick shift?
“No,” he says. ““D” for forward, “R” for backward, is what I always say. What’s a stick shift?”