I’m here to demand one simple thing of Bernie Ecclestone:
Please start a reality TV show in which each weekend a different set of Formula 1 personalities come and spend time with you. It could be driver pairs (Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, anyone) or a couple, three engineers from different teams. But just toss them into Bernie’s world and let’s see what would happen.
Yes. Yes. You’re right. It would be called “Weekend at Bernie’s.”
The reason I’m demanding this is because the official F1 site has another “Chat with Bernie and …” up. This time, the winner is Fernando Alonso.
And, as always, there is just gold in these loose, informal exchanges.*
Q: Bernie, even though you have many competitive racing drivers around, you personally said that were you still a team principal, you would go for the combination of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettelâ€¦
BE: This is totally correct.
Q: Are there any specific reasons?
BE: Of course there are. I personally think that Sebastian has the class to win a world championship, which Fernando has already proven. It is a matter of quality. In my opinion both of them would be an ideal line-up as they would complement each other. Am I right Fernando? Sebastian would not have any issues with you. What about yourself?
FA: Right, I would not have any problems with Sebastian.
BE: This is what I am saying. Both of them would treat each other with respect, regardless of being the biggest opponents.
Q: Employing both of them would not come cheap. Would you put that much money on the table Bernie?
BE: Of course I would.
C’mon. You have Vettel tossed under the Alonso clause and Bernie suggesting he’d actually spend money in one quick exchange. You’re telling me this reality show idea wouldn’t work? It wouldn’t be the worst thing on Speed TV, I can for sure tell you that.
OK, I’m actually skipping some hilarious stuff to get you to this:
Q: Bernie, you have followed Fernandoâ€™s career since the beginning – his first season at Minardi, his season with McLaren, his years and successes with Flavio Briatore and Renault. Being CEO of the Formula One Group, you must have been ecstatic to hear that Ferrari had committed to Fernandoâ€¦
BE: Yes, especially because Fernando is very much a typical Ferrari pilot. He is a fighter with a lionâ€™s heart and has a passion for competing and racing. This simply fits.
FA: Thatâ€™s right. It also makes me very proud to be part of Ferrariâ€™s history and its drivers. But I also feel a big responsibility being a Ferrari pilot. Ferrari has the biggest fan base all over the globe, and this is unbelievable. I also know that I have to deliver the performance – but I am absolutely ready to do so.
If you missed it, Bernie calls Fernando and fighter with a lion’s heart and Fernando says, “That’s right.”
OK, he may — he may — be responding more to the “I’m a typical Ferrari pilot,” but still… he shows he has a typical Ferrari pilot ego, that’s for sure.**
We shall end, though, with the best Bernie-ism of the interview:
Q: Bernie, you have sharp business acumen. Why is Ferrari so special for you?
BE: There will always be two things that will never lose their value: Formula One as a product, and Ferrari as a brand. Without wanting to step on anyoneâ€™s toes, I have to say the rest comes and goes and in the end it doesnâ€™t matter. This is somewhat inexplicable and has a certain tragic touch to it, but in the end it is exactly like this.
Yes, folks. You read it right. It begins, ends and the whole middle is taken up with Ferrari, according to one Bernie Ecclestone.
But at least he didn’t step on anyone’s toes.
* Yep. That’s sarcasm you sense.
** I know, they all do, and they have to. But…