Tag Archives: Mercedes

10 Reasons why Russia is not an automotive desert

A few days ago I made fun of Russian cars. My new friend Vladimir Putin was not amused. Apparently by agreeing to a Russian Grand Prix I have been bestowed with a certain responsibility to improve Russia’s automotive reputation in the rest of the world.

So here goes. I had my assistants collect some prime examples of Russian automotive goodness. And goodness me, this magnificent country has achieved a lot more than I expected. Whatever you may think about their industrial strength, the spirit’s already there. It’s amazing what a determined Russian can do without too much technology. God knows what’s going to happen when they get their hands on some state of the art F1 high tech.

‘Priceless’ I’d call it, where it not for the fact that everything in Russia has a price. Everything. So without further ado, I present to you ten amazing automotive achievements of the Empire of the East. Click on any picture, or click on the first and scroll through all of them.

Or if you want them all on one page, Continue reading

First Russia, now the Koreans

Suddenly everybody is treating me like an Emperor. Personal plates are one thing, but this is taking it to the extreme.

If your country wants to host a future Grand Prix, pay attention. The Koreans are setting a benchmark here.

[Thanks to Adam Cooper.]

Mark called: ‘Was I airborne long enough?’

Say what you want, but Mark Webber is not a wimp. This is a man whose Twitter name is Aussiegrit. I don’t know what Twitter is, let alone why anyone would have such a name on it, but Fabiana assures me it’s quite meaningful. So there.

Anyway, after Sunday’s crash I’m getting these calls from Mark, asking me “Bernie, you’ve been around for so long, Do you remember Peter Dumbreck at Le Mans, ten-odd years ago?

I tell him, of course I do, why d’you want to know? He says, I can’t help but wonder if I was airborne longer than Peter in that accident.

I say, listen Mark, nobody’s wondering whether you were airborne longer or shorter than Peter Dumbreck or the Wright brothers or whoever else. What does matter is, your hitting the tyre wall with 240 km/h is no picknick so the only thing everybody wants to know is if you’re all right. Airborne, for goodness’ sake! Are you sure your head’s not damaged?

He does have a point though. Continue reading

“Accuse me of imperfection at your peril”

He hasn’t really changed, has he?

Which begs the question, what’s he doing down there then? If it’s not the Grand Master himself, that leaves either the car or the points system. But don’t quote me.

Just had breakfast with Ross

I said, don’t you need to be in the pit garage right now? He says yes, but we still have that German caterer, you know, the Soup Nazi? Tried to get rid of him for a long time now but the problem is, he’s Mercedes approved. Had to file a request through Norbert, all the way up the line. I believe it’s about to go before the Daimler Board now.

And I tell you, Bernie, it’s not contributing to team morale. Things are so tense, you could cut slices off the atmosphere on days like this. Michael’s seconds off the pace while Nico’s doing stellar laps. Michael blames me for designing a car that’s more suited to Nico than to him and not redesigning it fast enough, and on top of that I have to deal with the car being off the general pace altogether.

Norbert’s under pressure from Zetsche, who wants results or else. And meanwhile Continue reading

Saw Ross Brawn yesterday over a beer.

He was almost crying in it. I know he’s a bit of a moaner, but to go into a complete funk over Bahrain seems a bit much. Come on Ross, I said, fifth and sixth ain’t that bad. You’ve got a whole season ahead of you, and all the money and might of Mercedes to prove it.

“You’re hitting the nail on the head,” he says. “The full might of Mercedes coming down on me, that’s what.” I say listen, a few Krauts around the paddock, grownup like you should be able to handle that. And they’re good engineers, aren’t they? By nature, I mean. Being German and all that. It’s in the genes.

He says, “it’s not just that. It’s the whole thing. They changed the catering – no more fish ‘n chips with some vinegar from the people we knew and loved. Continue reading

Zetsche to Schumacher: It’s your neck

This is why I’ll never have a German boss. Look at Dieter Zetsche here, all smiles over his minion Schumacher. Meanwhile, he’s very clear in his statements to the press: “Wit Daimler it’s all about winning, you know. If zere are clear signs zet our money could be better spent outside Formula Eins, ve’ll hav to make a new decizion.”

If you weren’t aware that the guy is stingier than a Dutchman on a budget, Herr Zetsche will take away all doubts for you: “[The fact that we went into this together with some Abu Dhabi investors] shows zet ve are distributing our risk, and it is also a zignal zet ze Formula Eins team must pay for itself.”

So is he Dutch, then? No, he’s most definitely a bloody Kraut: “Ve take our guidance from Gottlieb Daimler, who said ‘Ze best, or nozzing at all.'”

Just so you know.