Say the word, and you’ll have your Grand Prix in 2014.
Believe me, it wasn’t easy. When the Sochi blokes (shown above) kept dragging their feet I had to do what I always do in such cases: develop an alternative and kick their indecisive arses with it.
Tell you the truth, I’d even started to prefer the alternative. This Dutchman of all people came up with a street circuit around the Kremlin that was nothing short of spectacular. He and his Moscow City Hall pal Makarov came up with the idea, had some fur clad beauties wave it in front of the world press, and Vlad’s your uncle. Except, he wasn’t.
You see, all of this could only happen with the blessing of comrade Luzhkov, the all-powerful Mayor of Moscow. Makarov was Lushkov’s man, and the Dutchman had handed out handsome fees to all takers to smooth the way.
And guess what? The Russian Powers That Be (who else but Uncle Vlad himself, of course) saw the signs on the wall. So they fired bullet head Luzhkov and told the goons in Sochi to get their act together. Lo and behold.
What a country. Anyway, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings. Let’s wait and see what happens next.
You bet they are.
Look, I know that F1 would not be the same without a Monaco Grand Prix. Which is relevant if you’re sentimental. I ask you, my dear friends: do I look like a sentimental person?
Think about my position for a moment. I’m sitting on a franchise worth a couple of billion dollars. That sounds great (and believe me it is) but a money mountain like that attracts a lot of greedy people. In increasing order of greed we’re talking about the likes of the FIA (bunch of paupers), the F1 teams, a swarm of
locusts private equity capitalists and, last but not least, my beloved ex-wife, who needs to pay the upkeep for the most expensive private jet on the market.
And they all want more. The only reason I can survive this mayhem is by asking more money from race organisers. Is that so unreasonable?
Not if you consider that developing countries like Russia, India and Texas are prepared to shell out tens of millions of dollars for the privilege to host a Grand Prix. So why would I give a giant discount to a bunch of rich people occupying the hottest real estate on France’s Mediterranean coast?
In the end it all comes down to negotiation skills. Which is why I always mention one race in public when I really want to put pressure on another.
Dear burghers of Monaco, I’ve said it before and it goes for your lot too: if you think you’ve got me by the balls, your hands aren’t big enough.“
The news is out. Yesterday the McLaren boys livened up Moscow with a spin around the Kremlin, and my good friend Vladimir Makarov literally unfolded his plans for a street circuit. Shown here proudly waving the map under the watchful eye of some of his track marshals.
Personally I prefer keeping these things out of the press until the deal’s been done. Just to be clear: this deal is not done. The race can still go to a purpose built circuit. I couldn’t care less, as long as it’s something with fences around it so people have to pay a lot to get in. Mind you, I’m saying this on behalf of the organiser, since we’ll take the money up front anyway. It’s his job to see if he can wriggle it out of two hundred thousand wallets or so.
Which brings me to the third possibility, that the Moscow race is not going to happen at all. If Vladimir wants to make a fool of himself by announcing something that still has to come true, that’s his business. It only makes my negotiating job easier.
Funny enough, other people who realise this a well as I do, are Continue reading