You could see it coming. Tony’s been complaining a long time about interference from some Malaysian ex-Prime Minister and I don’t think his independent stance went down well in Kuala Lumpur.
Add to this that he’s once again shown the power of the Lotus brand, having built the only decent team among this season’s rookies in barely a year’s time, and you can just wait for the Malaysian vultures to swoop in. Poor chap was operating on a licence from Protus Group so they thought they had him on a string. Is it a failure? Drop it like a brick. Is it a success? Finders keepers, then.
But Tony’s just a little bit cleverer than that. Continue reading
At least one of the new teams is a shining light of hope in this sorry pre-season mess. To be honest I’d gotten a little bit worried because I heard nothing from Tony Fernandes for a while, so I gave him a call. One never knows, better to be safe than sorry.
Turns out, Tony’s been busy playing host to officialdom. Apparently they’ve renamed their Norfolk facility as the new Lotus Racing factory and that’s as good an opportunity it gets to do some old-fashioned wanking.
Here’s the notorious Dr Mahathir on the cutting edge in Norfolk. Tony was particularly pleased with his appearance, because apparently the good Doctor, who still wields quite a bit of influence in the ex-colonies, had cast some doubt on his achievements. ‘Almost got into some serious trouble there,’ he told me. Continue reading
Hardly got rid of Sir Swinging Dick or the phone’s ringing again. Tony Fernandes this time. He sounds harried.
“Bernie,” he says, “I’ve got Dr Mahathir on my back again. He asked me what our competitive chances were with Lotus and I made the mistake of saying that we aimed to be the best of the new four – us, Campos, Virgin and US F1. He said, what F1? US F1, did I hear you correctly? Are you saying the US are sponsoring a team as well? I said no Dr Mahathir, it’s not the country, it’s a private team. There are no country teams in F1. He says, of course there are, we are one aren’t we? I said no, technically speaking we’re not, but harm was already done. And now he’s continuously bothering me with all kinds of theories.
Latest is that the US F1 team doesn’t physically exist and Continue reading
Tony Fernandes just called. Wants my advice. He’s a likeable fellow, I met him a couple of times at the KL Grand Prix. Runs a budget airline out of Malaysia, sort of an Asian version of Richard Swinging Dick Branson but with a lot less bullshit. The airline’s his daytime job; in the moonlight he runs the Lotus F1 team.
Turns out, he’s being pestered by a fellow called Mahathir. Continue reading