Tag Archives: FIA

Enough already. Time to sharpen the knives

I know, I know. Haven’t been blogging for quite a while. But now I’m in KL, visiting my first race of the season, I couldn’t help it. I had to break the silence.

That silence was Fabiana’s idea, really. Said we drew too much attention and that brought the muggers upon us. Bullshit, of course, but what can one do? You can’t argue with women. At least, I can’t. Problem is, I’m a negotiator. One of the best, I might say, and I’ve got the billions to prove it. But arguing with women is not like negotiating. They’re simply not receptive to it. Their brains work differently. Which is why they don’t run F1.

But I do. Not the FIA, not the teams. Me.

Especially not the teams, by the way. Continue reading

I found the perfect solution for Lewis

He kept calling me late at night, saying he couldn’t sleep, getting increasingly worried about the FIA taking away his Superlicence.

We announced this a couple of months ago: in future the FIA can and will punish its licence holders for road traffic offences. If you’re really bad they’ll even take your licences away. And yes, Lewis, that includes your F1 Superlicence.

It’s a leftover from Max Mosley’s days. Max was always big on two things: Road Safety – his big legacy – and Punishment. The new system sits on the crossroads of both. It does fit very well with FIA’s new mission in life, which goes way beyond motor racing alone. As a driver you’re now not only supposed to behave on the circuit, but in ordinary traffic as well. Unless you’re Jenson Button’s bodyguard, of course. Jean Todt likes the idea as well so he’s pushed it through the General Assembly. It’s official now.

Lewis on his way to the office

Which doesn’t help Lewis’ mood. Since Melbourne he thinks everybody’s out to get him. Thing is, people keep giving him these hideously fast cars to drive around in. So he thinks he has to prove he can drive them. It doesn’t even occur to him to lift the accelerator pedal a little. ‘Braking late is in my blood,’ he keeps saying.

I even suggested him Continue reading

Are we done now?

The verdict is out, the hysterics are over. The journos and, worse, the pundits had their day. Ferrari are guilty, and the $100,000 fine just happened to be the correct punishment. Kudos to the Hockenheim race stewards. Oh and team orders will be reviewed.

Moving on, people. Nothing to see here.

Hoons beware

The FIA has spoken. Lewis, if you’re caught hooning expensive cars again, you’re done for. No more superlicence for you, buster.

Michael, a tunnel ceiling is for holding the light fixtures. The road is the flat tarmacky bit on the bottom. Driving on any other part is just setting a bad example. Don’t let it happen again.

And Sebastian, I haven’t seen you drive out there but if you bring your rental car back like this once more, you’re busted. Don’t think we’re idiots.

This is what you get when drivers are getting younger every year…

Eddie Jordan is starting to behave like a muppet…

… One of those two grumpy old guys on the balcony, to be precise. Statler or Waldorf, I never know which is which.

It’s been at the back of my mind for a while now and EJ himself finally alerted me to it. Called me up today, during a break in the World Motorsport Council Meeting, and started ranting about how Ferrari had treated us all like muppets and should be punished severely, Max Mosley-style.

I said, you mean with a whip? Convict Luca de Montezemelemololo to seven strokes of the cane, like they do in Singapore?

No Bernie, you know what I mean. They should be told who’s boss and it’s not them. If we let them get away with this, who knows where it’s going to end? Ferrari telling FIA to stick their rules where the sun doesn’t shine? Alonso telling the track marshals to blue flag everyone ahead of him so he has right of way all the way to the finish? Domenicali commandeering the pit lane when a Ferrari car’s about to pit? Bernie, you have to stop this here and now!

I said sorry Eddie, meeting’s about to start again. Talk to you later. Calm down and take one of those little pills, be a good boy.

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

Korea Empty Valley

Had a word with Charlie Whiting yesterday, about Korea. He’s just been there for a site visit. So how’s it going in the Korea Auto Valley, Charlie?

“Great, Bernie.” He says. These Koreans know how to build. They’re not ready yet but they’ll get there in time. Beautiful site, in the middle of nowhere so nothing to stop them from finishing in time. No worries.”

That’s Charlie alright. Send him in to do the job, he’ll do the job. Inspect construction progress? Done. But will he see the big picture? No he won’t. That’s what Supremos are for, of course.

So do I worry? Of course I do. Do you see the artist impression Charlie got from the Koreans? Do you see what’s wrong with it?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it: Continue reading

Monaco at risk?

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.

Who bothers with small fry? It’s The Neck we want!

If you wanted proof that hunting season on Michael Schumacher is officially open for not only journos but everybody else as well, Monaco was the place for you last weekend. Let’s leave the discussion aside about how stiff the penalty should’ve been for overtaking Alonso. I mean let’s face it, the rule wasn’t exactly a monument of clarity and they could’ve exercised a tiny bit more restraint in punishing Michael.

But the really telling bit is the speed and eagerness with which the stewards dropped everything when they spotted Michael’s manoeuvre. At least according to one of them, Paul Gutjahr, that’s the reason Barrichello got away with tossing his steering wheel under an HRT after getting stuck in the middle of the track.

According to Gutjahr, Barrichello’s little lapse was definitely on the radar but, and I quote, ‘it simply fell off the agenda in the “hectic rush” to sort out Michael.’

I really don’t want to be the one who’s rushing to Michael’s defence all the time, but seriously, let’s give the lad a break, won’t we?

Sad, very sad.

Sometimes problems solve themselves

In the end I didn’t have to do anything. Jean called, said ‘Bernie, run that Briatore thing by me again, please.’

I said why, we discussed it not so long ago and I remember twelve gauge shotguns came up in conversation. Are you getting bored?

Jean Todt's softer side, with a bit of red in the background

He says no, but I’ve been thinking. Flavio’s suing, Symonds’s suing, we’re suing and revising our procedures to get their bans reinforced, this whole sorry mess will stay on the cards and who knows? Maybe one day the shit will fly as far as Alonso again. That’s not in the interest of Ferrari FIA.

I said, no it isn’t and by the way, did I hear you say Ferrari? He says, no I corrected myself, FIA, Ferrari, all sounds the same. You probably misheard.

I said I probably did. And you’re right, in the end it’s all the same anyway because what would F1 be without some red at the front of the field?

So here’s what you do: Continue reading