Apparently HRT’s problems extend off the grid, where the team can’t even keep pace with the GP2 cars this weekend.
According to Bernie Ecclestone, the team “have got problems.” But never fear, F1 fans. Bernie also says: “I will sort it out.”
Now, I’m not sure if this is a case of wanting to kill the message (Bernie) or the messenger (the Telegraph). But in a sit-down with the paper, Bernie does his usual — throws HRT under the bus, disparages Jenson Button, builds up his own legacy, claims Rome and Russia are all set for a 2013 calendar, and plenty more.
I think the piece can be summed up in this quote:
Ecclestone, the sport’s commercial rights holder, is an easy figure to lampoon, a gift for pc warriors, but the cartoon commentary does not begin to get to the essence of the man. There is not a voice raised against him in this parish.
For every controversial aside praising Hitler there is a grateful recipient of his largesse. More than one Eddie Jordan wanders this precinct thankful for his benefice. Without him they would be darning the holes in their socks.
As I unpack this statement, I wonder if the reporter really understood what he was writing. He essentially suggests that it all comes down to money, and that as long as Bernie is making people in the paddock rich, they’ll support him. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t balance out the Hitler comments or anything else Bernie says. That doesn’t balance the “moral/ethical scales,” which I think is what the reporter intends to imply.
All right. I’m off my high horse. Instead, let’s get to this: Bernie, it’s Monaco weekend. Can’t you say this stuff when there isn’t anything else going on?
The HRT news, which the Telegraph tosses off as almost an aside, strikes me as the big news:
I waited in line with the representative from new Spanish entrant, Hispania Racing Team, already struggling to pay their paddock bills.
“Everybody wants to see me. They think I can help. That’s why they call me the godfather,” Ecclestone said. “HRT have got problems. I will sort it out. I’d like to see 12 teams finish the season because they have made the commitment to come in. We might lose one of them. But I’m doing my bit to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
Again, it is presented almost as an aside, and from a British paper I can understand why. But that’s big news, and no team deserves to be shrugged off like it is unimportant.
Then there is this:
As well as saving teams, Ecclestone’s big thing is the redrawing of the F1 map. His next stop after Monaco is Sochi in Russia, where he hopes a race might make the F1 calendar in 2013.
“The Russians are good people. They get on with things. It is a matter of whether it suits us or not. I have to have a look at it first.”
Negotiations are also advanced to host a grand prix in the Italian capital, where the streets were roped off last week for the reconstituted road classic the Mille Miglia.
“Rome is moving forward. That is going to be good. It’s a bit political, obviously. But Rome could be ready in 2013 and Russia about the same time.”
All right, F1Bers, start figuring out which races come off the calendar. Might I suggest when you figure it out, you go soak yourself in a spa to help calm yourself back down? Yes, the calendar could maybe grow by a race, but two? I doubt it. And where does that leave Bernie’s dream weekend in New York?
Bernie also gets in some nice digs on Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, proving no one is safe.
And what of Jenson Button, the championship leader for whom he feared after joining lion king Lewis Hamilton at McLaren?
“I was stupid enough to have a bet with someone that neither Jenson nor Michael would win a race this season. Now I’m out of pocket.”
If you are reading this Lewis, look away now. “Hamilton has been disappointing. He was unlucky in the last race but that’s what happens when things are going badly for you.
“People praise his overtaking but you don’t get any points for passing cars.”
And then, finally, let’s let Bernie think back to the good old days:
The radio active dynamic between Max Mosley, Flavio Briatore and Ron Dennis is no more. F1’s governing body, the FIA, is in the invisible hands of old Ferrari fixer Jean Todt, a silent bruiser happy to pull levers in darkness.
“We don’t need the president getting involved in stuff that doesn’t concern him,” Ecclestone said, code no doubt for doing as he is told.
Despite the sport’s quieter political profile, Ecclestone misses the old legislature.
“Yes I miss having Flav about the place. He is good company and he was good for this sport. People associated him with F1. He was a character. We miss Max, too. Max got a lot more right than wrong.
“The biggest problem that Max had was that he couldn’t package things in a nice way. You tell people to take it or leave it and it doesn’t work. “It’s quieter now at the FIA, which is how we like it.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your F1 boss. His hits just keep coming.