A (fake) Team Principal writes

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Italian Grand Prix - Race Day - Monza, Italy

Dear Harry, 

Well, that’s the European season done and dusted and we’re all set now for the end-of-season flyaways, which I have to say I’m terribly excited about. I’ve never been to Singapore or Japan before and am really looking forward to immersing myself in the cultures. I told my father about how terribly interesting it will be and he muttered something about it all being fine “but the next thing you know you’re building a bloody bridge in the jungle”. No idea what he’s talking about, I think the old man’s going a bit ga-ga.

Anyway, I’d better fill you in on the past few weeks, which have been just as interesting, sort of.

First of all, we went to Monza. Ahh, la bella Italia, la dolce vita, la dolce e gabbana… something like that, I was never very good at the old Italian at school. Come to think of it, I wasn’t much good at anything at school really, but look at me now – in charge of a top-level Formula Uno racing team at something called the Crucible of Speed. I thought the Crucible was where they played snooker but, hey ho I was happy to go along with it if they were.

Before we went Camilla told me that Monza has been on the Formula One calendar for simply ages but that the race was in danger of being axed from the calendar because of money issues. She encouraged me to say how great it was to any passing press.

I guess I sort of misunderstood which bit of that she wanted me to say was great and there were a few fireworks when on Friday morning the internet was awash with stories carrying headlines such as “Rockbottom boss says ‘sling your hook’ to ‘pauper’ Monza”. It’s fair to say that one took a bit of explaining, although I did a get very nice phone call from the little old chap with the funny hair who told me that I was “bang on the money, son, and we both know it’s all about the money”.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Italian Grand Prix - Race Day - Monza, Italy

He also said that he had heard my team ShitzU Rockbottom Racing was in the market for a new engine deal and that because of my astute statements about Monza he could “have a word in the right ears”.

This was great news! Truth be told, we haven’t heard much from Vlad over the past few weeks, in fact nothing except a cryptic postcard with a picture of a man with a plate in his mouth on the front and postmarked Manaus. It only had five words written on it: “Help. Need funds. Sell team.”

I wasn’t sure what that meant so I handed it to Camilla, who threw something at me and called me “bonehead” before picking up the phone and dialling.

“Larry, darling! How are things with you?” she smiled as she got to through to our main sponsor and father of our semi-talented young driver Bratt Lentucho.

The word the poor chap yelled down the phone was so loud and so awful that even I could hear it and by that stage I had wondered off to composites to see if they could glue what I call my ‘folder that makes me look important’ back together after Camilla had broken it by chucking it at my head.

Anyway, it seems we’re now wholly-owned by Larry and while he is the largest purveyor of vehicles made by our current engine partner in North America, Hawaii and Guam we apparently still needed to ink a new deal for engines for 2016 and rumour had it another team was sniffing around looking to supplant us their preferred partner.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Spanish Grand Prix - Preparation Day - Barcelona, Spain

Camilla said we were much more likely to get the deal as being eight seconds off the pace with their engines this year meant we aren’t likely to be much of a threat – ever – but still I was tasked with meeting with our supplier’s new boss (a meeting brokered by the little old chap with the funny hair) to get the deal signed.

Camilla told me to walk down to their motorhome and find the most outlandishly dressed person there and that would surely be him. This wasn’t as easy as it first appeared, as it’s Monza and the paddock is mostly full of the outlandish and the outlandishly dressed.

It meant that I spent 45 minutes telling, first, a visiting cardinal, and second, the chief of the local police, how much I really wanted their power units before I eventually found the fellow I was looking for.

It was Thursday, he was out of team kit and wearing a pink jacket with tight white jeans and a bright red shirt so I didn’t think I had been too far wrong with priest and the policeman. Also I couldn’t stop staring at his amazing hair. It looked like it had been carved out of some kind of exotic wood and then covered in silver and battleship grey spray paint. It sort of looked like part of a Christmas nativity diorama and throughout our chat it never moved once, despite the furious gesticulating that went on during our meeting.

The gesticulation wasn’t really about hyperbolic Mediterranean body language, it was simply the only way I could understand anything he said.

“I would like to buy a supply of your engines,” I ventured as we sat down in his office.

“I am on the balcony,” he countered, “counting lemons and watching the milkmaids deliver marbles.”

“Oooookay,” I replied. “What do you think it might cost?”

“This morning I ate a swan.”

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Italian Grand Prix - Preparation Day - Monza, Italy

It took three hours but I think we eventually came to some sort of understanding, mostly when I insisted that he paw the ground with his foot to indicate the precise numbers involved. I think we have now agreed we will pay 11 million dollars, one capuchin monkey, two tickets to see Beyoncé anywhere of his choosing in the world plus a lifetime supply of peanut M&Ms for next year’s power units.

I called Larry to tell him the good news and he just said, “I’ll fix it,” before hanging up.

I might have to call on him to fix something else before long as it seems his son and our star driver, Bratt, is going off the rails a bit.

He turned up in Monza with his hair dyed bright pink and with a new tattoo on his forehead. Apparently it’s of a male fighting bird of some kind.

“This tattoo symbolises my quest for individuality and also struggle for supremacy,” he told reporters at his Thursday press briefing.

“I am a seeker of knowledge, a visionary – despite being temporarily blinded when the tattooist dropped ink in my eye – and I come in peace,” he continued, “However, I am also a warrior and this fighting bird, with his elegant white plumage, his vibrant red comb and wattle, shows that I am willing to battle to the end so that I might soar high into the sky.”

“But it’s a chicken,” observed one of the assembled reporters. “And chickens can’t fly.”

“It’s not a chicken,” insisted Bratt. “It’s a cock. I am a sporting cock.”

Well, I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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