Tag Archives: Gerard Lopez

Putin is having some fun

'Whatever you do, Mr Prime Minister, do NOT push the red button'

It seems he likes manly pursuits, as he calls them. So I told my old friend Gerard Lopez he might score some brownie points by having Mr Prime Minister drive on of his race cars. Gerard didn’t hesitate a second. He expects most of his sponsor money to come from Russia, so this was a no-brainer.

It was for Vladimir Putin too. Except for one thing: if he goes out for a drive he insists on having a spare car right behind him, in case the first one breaks down. Something to do with the state of automotive Russia. Don’t ask.

So Gerard brought two cars to St Petersburg, and Putin had his bit of fun on a stretch of road that just happened to be deserted. Coincidence, no doubt. Or maybe it was empty because it was early in the morning, before the rush hour.

Or maybe it was because there were a couple of hundred traffic policemen armed with tanks and automatic weapons. This might be a good solution for the M25 on Monday mornings.

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Kimi’s job interview

My friend Gerard Lopez tells me Renault are not completely sure about hiring Kimi Raikkonen. “On the plus side, Kimi’s got a lot going for him. He’s talented, no doubt. He’s a former Champion. He’s only been out of F1 for less than a year so there’s not so much of a Schumi-risk.”

So what’s bugging you, Gerard?

“Motivation, mostly,” he says. “Kimi’s got a bit of a reputation as a party animal. Can’t be bothered to do anything besides driving, which he loves. He’s known to hate the more boring parts of the job. Stuff like going through telemetry data, spending time on the simulator and giving feedback to the engineers. Communicating with engineers and mechanics in general. That sort of thing.”

I can see that. Commyoonicating is not Kimi’s strongest point. So it’s a bit of a judgment call, then. How’re you going solve that, Gerard?

“We’ve arranged a job interview. Eric Bouiller is going to look him in the eye and ask him a few specific questions. See if he means it.”

On past performance, that should be fun. Kimi’s a regular champion in coming up with non-answers to any question. If you want examples, look here, here or here. Yes, I’d love to be a fly on the wall in this one. I imagine it’d go something like this:

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Kimi called

Bernie, he says, you’re goowd friends with Gerard Lopez, are you not? Can you poot in a goowd word for a poowr Finn who wants to go back too Formula One?

Now there’s a surprise, Kimi. I thought you had so much fun in rallye sports?

“Well I had, but lately it has not been sow much fun any more. Turns out, you have to commyoonicate with people all the time. Even in the car you have to commyoonicate with your navigator, instead of just drive the thing.”

Commyoonicate? You mean you actually have to speak to people?

“Yes Bernie, all the time. This is not my style. I just want to have a goowd race. I want to concentrate on driving. I do not want someone yelling pace notes at me all the time. The owther day in Japan it happened again, like so many times before. We were doing fine, having a goowd race. Then I misunderstoowd a pace note and there we went again. It was the blowdy limit. I dont need advice, it just distracts me. I want to go back to being alone in the cawr.”

This was the longest speech I’d heard from him in all those years. Things must be really bad. Continue reading