Tag Archives: F1 London

Boris Johnson left a voicemail

Received your memo, Bernie, he says. All I’ve got to say is I had ab-so-lute-ly nothing to do with this. Those Red Bull bastards acted completely on their own authority. I’ll personally see to it that it won’t happen again. In fact, I’ve just increased the congestion charge for F1 cars by 1000%. Will cost them 80 quid per pitstop now. That’ll keep ’em out.

By the way, while on the subject, a street race in London wouldn’t be a bad idea at all, would it? Great backdrop. Think about it. Ta!

Martin Whitmarsh calls

Bernie, he says, this is the bloody limit. First Ferrari, with that little so-called promotional shenanigan of theirs, sneaking in a few Fiorano laps for Alonso the other day.

And now we’ve got those Red Bull buggers, practicing bleedin’ pitstops in Whitehall. Makes you wonder why we still have an in-season test ban at all. Are you going to put a stop to this, or do you need me to do it?

What can I say? Don’t worry, Martin. Won’t happen again. I’m on it.

Mark Webber calls

“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.

Richard Branson calls

Barely have I finished my memo to Boris Johnson, or my phone starts making orgasm sounds. That’s the ringtone I use for Sir Big Swinging Dick.

Good morning Bernie, he blares into the phone. I see you’re getting big time into street racing these days! That’s a great stunt you boys pulled in front of Westminster Abbey this morning. Mind if do the same in Las Vegas one of these days?

As a matter of fact I do, I tell him. In fact, very much so. To start with, I’m in charge of circuits and no one else is. Second, I know you keep going on about Las Vegas but let’s do Texas first, shall we? Let’s try and see if the US can handle one race, and if it does we can always go to two. And third, it wasn’t me who pulled that stunt, it was the Red Bull gang and they’re in for a lot of trouble. As will you, if I see any more unauthorised street racing. Is that clear?

Wohoho, Bernie, he says, no need to get all bonkers on me. It was just an idea, you know. Thinking out aloud. I still think the Vegas Strip is a splendid idea, though. Or else the streets of San Fransisco. I mean, can you imagine those F1 cars going down Lombard Street?

I hang up before I start to tell him where he can stick his Lombard Street fantasies.

Memo to Boris Johnson: NO unauthorised street circuits please

Now listen carefully, Boris: I don’t care if your middle name is De Pfeffel, or if you’re in the habit of cutting your own hair after downing half a dozen whiskies. I couldn’t care less if you went to Eton or Balliol or both. I’ve attended Bexleyheath Comprehensive and done quite well out of it, thank you.

But let me make one thing very clear: you’re the Mayor of London, and I’m in charge of F1 circuits, and never shall they meet Mark Twain. Am I making myself clear? So no more unauthorised street races in your town. I’ll talk to Mark Webber separately. Now go back to organising your Olympics.