No idea how she got my number, but there she was. Said she’d watched our Tea Party from her house, and that it was really time for us to Man Up. Apparently she couldn’t bear the sight of two dozen manly men, huddling under umbrellas and waiting for the rain to stop in order to go about their business.
Ms Palin, I said, first of all it was not a Tea Party. It was a race. A Formula One Grand Prix at that. And second, it was in Korea. I don’t think you could see it from your house, because Japan is kind of sitting in the way.
“Mr Ecclestone,” she says. (I hate it when people call me that. It’s either Mr E, or Bernie if I know you.) “Mr Ecclestone, don’t try to catch me out like all those socialist media wussies. Many tried and it’s getting old. When I say I can see it from my house that’s proverbially speakin’. And what I do see is what your people say on Twitter. Or actually, my people see that. I try to stay away from it because by gollie, there’s always sumtin’ going wrong when I do it myself.
“And I’ll be gosh darned if I’ll Continue reading
I shouldn’t’ve made that joke about the Maldives. All of a sudden every politician and their brother are all over me because their bloody backwater is supposed to be an ideal venue for the next Grand Prix.
Here’s just another day in the Singapore paddock: I’ve got a Chicago politician in tow, some Russian Deputy Prime Minister whose name is Dimitri Cossack (I’m not making this up), and a Prime Minister of Mauritius whose name I won’t even begin to pronounce. All three are eager to impress me with their countries’ prowess, and the countless millions of locals that are supposedly pining to have two dozen racing machines screaming through their respective neighbourhoods. On top of that, the Chicago pol has a really crappy camera.
But who knows what the future holds? Hard to tell if, silly as it may seem now, Continue reading
Here’s a nice picture of the future Austin circuit, including elevation differences. Tilke’s using the hilly terrain to re-create some of the famous turns in F1, plus a couple of stretches where overtaking will be relatively easy.
Trust some miserable journos to turn this into a disadvantage. Here’s a piece from Richard Williams over at The Guardian, trying to argue that a) they don’t make circuits like they used to any more and b) if they do, it’s pathetic because they shouldn’t. Calls the Austin track a ‘karaoke circuit.’
Listen, journos, if you got out of the wrong side of the bed because the missus denied you sex once again, don’t take it out on us. We’re trying to make an honest living here. And spare me the drivel about racing on ‘what were originally public roads also follows the hills and valleys sculpted over millennia by wind, water and geology among the pine forests of the Ardennes.’ What are you trying to say? We should convert ancient public roads and pristine hill forests into circuits for the truly pastoral F1 experience? Have you ever heard an F1 engine rip by at 18,000rpm? What do you want, feng shui circuits?
It never ceases to amaze me how morons like that keep their journo jobs. Small wonder newspapers have difficulty surviving in modern times.
On a positive note, it’s great to see that Tilke, on the other hand, does know how to do his job. Do you see that hump on the far left, between turns 11 and 12? Hermann put it especially in there to make overtaking like this possible.
Austin, here we come!
Enough with all this navel gazing. Here it is: the first purpose-built US F1 circuit. Behold the site of the future Austin, Texas Grand Prix.
It’s becoming a little tradition on this blog to give you the scoop on future circuit plans. I will admit to you, my dear readers, it’s my favourite pastime: planning and negotiating new and exciting races.
I get a lot of satisfaction out of charting the course of F1’s future. Finding new places to plan F1 races, developing the plans,
finding a sucker to guarantee the money up front negotiating the deal that will make it all possible. Unlike other parts of my job it’s very grateful work.
This is what the plot looks like right now. It’s called Wandering Creek, in a Godforsaken backwater called Elroy. Try to picture Continue reading
Uncle Bernie, he says, I’m here at Silverstone with Aunt Susan and we’re having a great time but she’s getting worried about all these plans surfacing about a second US Grand Prix.
Aunt Susan? I ask. Who’s she? Do I know her? “Don’t you remember?” he says. “She’s the Comptroller for the State of Texas, she’s the nice lady who promised to pay those $25m in penalty clauses if we don’t have a race in 2012.”
Ah, that Aunt Susan. And why would she be worried? Another GP wouldn’t slow down your plans in Austin, would it? He says no it wouldn’t, but she’s an elected official and it wouldn’t make her look good for the voters if we would be, say, a year late and you’d pocket $25m and still get your US Grand Prix elsewhere.
So I tell him, listen, Tavo, the reason you got that contract in the first place is you’re a good lad and you’re going to make sure that Austin circuit gets finished on time. And by the way, since you’re already in business and nobody else has even started yet, your chances of having a Grand Prix up and running in 2012 are better than anyone else’s. So just do your job and neither you or auntie whatshername have anything to worry about.
Wimp. Whatever happened to that famous American pioneer spirit?
(Thanks reader David, for sending me the picture.)
I know these are difficult times. You’ve been bailing out banks, car companies and insurance conglomerates, to the tune of trillions of dollars. You’ve been hit by a recession, you’re almost singlehandedly supporting two wars and now there’s a whole gulf to clean up as well. Sometimes I wonder how you manage. I’m glad I’m not an economist.
That’s why I appreciate it all the more that you still can find time and the odd couple of millions to make sure we at Formula One Management have enough income from the new US Grand Prix. Starting a whole new event is risky, especially in view of the fact that you need to guarantee our annual 25 million dollar fee before a single ticket has been sold. I know, that doesn’t make it any easier.
But in the spirit of the true American entrepreneur you’ll go for it, against all odds. I appreciate that, I really do. You see, I too was once an entrepreneur. Now I’m a billionaire Formula One supremo and I’m glad I don’t need to take that kind of risk any more.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.