Tag Archives: Tony Fernandes

Sir Big Swinging Dick calls. Does he care?

No, he doesn’t. Says he wishes us well and then quickly moves on to the real reason for the call.

“Bernie,” he asks. “Have you ever waxed your legs?” Formula One has no shortage of weirdos.

Sorry, I tell him, but I’m afraid it never crossed my mind. Been through a lot in those eighty years, but this bit never came up. Why the question? Do I want to know?

“It’s this bet I had with Tony Fernandes. The one about serving as a stewardess in the other’s airline.”

Ah yes. Tony and BSD had a bet who would end higher in the Championship. Big Swinging Dick lost and now he has to do a stint as a stewardess on Air Asia. But why the waxing?

“Well, I’ll tell you, Bernie, Tony’s not the one you want to lose a bet with. He’s now come up with a lot of extra stuff I have to do to make true on the bet. Wants me to shave my legs, put on make up, wear high heels and clean toilets!

“The worst of it is, he’s stealing a leaf out of my book. I’m the one that’s supposed to come up with stunts like that. So I’ll have to go one up on him. I’ve no choice. He wants my legs shaved, I’ll wax ’em. He wants some make up on my face, I’ll put on the full works. In fact I’m trying out lipstick and mascara as we speak. Great stuff, you know. Because I’m worth it!

The mugging must’ve affected me more than I thought. The idea of having Big Swinging Dick on the phone while he’s putting on lipstick in front of a vanity mirror, so soon after that other traumatic experience, is more than I can handle.

Awfully sorry, I say, but I’ve no experience with either waxing my legs or putting on lip shade. In fact, in all those years I’ve never even left the house in drag, believe it or not. Now if you’ll excuse me? I’ve work to do.

Dr Mahathir called

He wanted a quick word about Tony Fernandes. Mahathir used to be Prime Minister of Malaysia but in retirement he’s apparently become a sort of Automotive Industry Czar for the country.

“Mr Ecclestone, it has been brought to my attention that you’ve spoken harsh words about Dato Sri Fernandes and his team in the press, lately. Mr Fernandes and 1Malaysia Racing are going through some tough times at the moment. However, Dato Sri has done good work to advance the cause of Lotus and Malaysia. His results will be put to good use in the future and he certainly doesn’t deserve to be called a cripple.”

Ah, so you mean he’s rebuilt the Lotus name for you and now it seems to work out you’re going to take it away?

“The Lotus name was never his, Mr Ecclestone. It was ours all along. We just gave Mr Fernandes some play room while we were building our strategy. And do not worry, we’re not going to take anything away. He will be amply rewarded for his efforts, maybe some extra landing slots for his little airline or some real estate in Kuala Lumpur, we may even make him a Datuk or Tan Sri. I still have to decide about that. But he will be taken care of.”

Airline slots? Real estate? Dalek titles? And here’s me thinking the good Doctor isn’t Malaysia’s Prime Minister any more. Anyway, my number one rule is never to go into discussion with politicians. Except for one thing, of course.

Thank you, Dr Mahathir. I’ll await the outcome. But whatever you do, whether it’s called Renault, or Lotus, or Protus, please make sure it’s well-funded.

Cripples are people who don’t invest enough. I hate cripples.

Lotus boredom

In typical Lotus style, our boys in green were the rookies that adapted fastest to the experienced teams’ habits. Although I’m certain SS Sauber beat this contraption down the pitdrain pitlane hands down.

Don’t worry, Tony. Next year your boat will undoubtedly be faster. By the way, is there any significance to it having twin hulls?

Tony Fernandes called

“Bernie,” he said, “things could get ugly.” How ugly? “Well, I’ve even heard talk about Proton building a second Lotus F1 team, complete with cars and drivers, just to prove the point that they control every aspect of the brand.”

Tony, I say, don’t you worry. We won’t even let them in. After all, you’re the one that got the F1 slot from the FIA, didn’t you?

“I know,” he said. “But try to imagine, a race is about to start and a team arrives in the green and yellow colours, complete with the CABC logo and everything. You would let them in, wouldn’t you? Believe me, I hear rumours that they’re already plotting to hold up my planes so I won’t get to the circuit in time. So they’d just take our place!”

Thought that was a bit far fetched, but he sounded worried. OK Tony, I said, here’s what we do. Make sure your drivers and engineers bring their passports and F1 licences to the race and we’ll do spot checks on the paperwork from Practice 1 onwards. That should take care of any impostors.

Blimey. And I thought I’d seen everything in F1.

High Noon at the KL Corral

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

“Financier de Légion d’Honneur”

As you probably know I don’t have much time for the Sir Big Swinging Dicks, Datuk Jean Todts, Ross Brawn KBEs and whatnot of this world. I mean, if you’ve got to get your jollies from somebody pinning a little tin plate on your chest and handing you a wanky diploma for your office wall, go ahead but don’t expect me to be impressed. At all. I mean, I couldn’t care less. (Enough already! We get it – ed.)

But once more I have to hand it to Tony Fernandes. Just got presented with the Legion d’Humeur or something, some wanky affair handed out by the French president to budget airline bosses. Look at him, the lad’s proud of his achievement. But then he shows off his certificate, Continue reading