MAURICE HAMILTON

IQ Zero


Jenson Button, Brazilian GP 2003

Jenson Button, Brazilian GP 2003 

 © The Cahier Archive

"An artificial wet race would add to the show - and you want something people will watch. At the end of the day you want people to watch what you are offering. You could argue that running at night under lights is a gimmick. But Singapore has turned out to be one of the most spectacular races of the season. Couldn't you in fact argue that a street circuit itself is gimmicky? After all, you have created a circuit out of normal roads." - Spokesman for Pirelli Motorsport.

Mirelli (Ireland) has introduced an innovative scheme to spice up the mundane life of the ordinary motorist while, at the same time, boosting tyre sales, getting rid of unwanted stock and amusing the unemployed hanging around street corners.

Mirelli (Ireland) will introduce the PriceZero Plan if customers agree to take pot luck when visiting dealerships for replacement tyres.

"This is a grand idea," says Padriag Haemorrhage, Head of Marbles at Mirelli. "You'll not know what to expect. We've had enough of this PR malarkey about 'one hundred years' experience of tyre technology enabling Mirelli to combine in their products maximum levels of security, longevity, comfort and attention to the environment.' Forget all that common sense baloney. This is 2011. People want to be entertained, see crashes and have fun.

"So, here's the plan. You leave your car in the Mirelli tyre bay, go next door and have a couple of decent pints in Finnegan's Bar and when you come back, there's your car; job done. You could have a couple of used truck tyres on the front, an emergency spare on the nearside-rear and whatever else we need to get rid of on the offside. At the end of the day, people want to watch you drive on what we're offering.

"In any case, we're doing you a favour because, the ways things are in Ireland right now, you're going to get any decent wheels and tyres nicked from your car before you've had time to knock the top off your first pint. So you may as well bollix them from the start by having a load of high class rubbish on each corner.

"Anyway, it would be great craic to watch you attempt to leave the premises with the car crabbing all over the place. Even then, if we think you're doing okay, we'll call you back to check the tyre pressures - and then set them all different! How's that for a good laugh?

"Maybe even start a slow puncture. Jayzus, that would be great craic. We'd have people lining the streets to watch you come by in the hope you might spin off.

"And that's another thing. These streets that people insist on driving on; what have they got to do with anything? Okay, sure I know we had races on the roads of Dublin's Phoenix Park starting as recently as 1903, and Monaco has been running a race through the streets since 1929; so, this street stuff is clearly a gimmick and has no history whatsoever. Trust me, I know about these things. Then there's Le Mans and some place called Pau in France. But they'll never catch on.

Tyre, Malaysian GP 2009

Tyre, Malaysian GP 2009 

 © The Cahier Archive

"And it's feckin' dangerous too. Thundering jayzus, we want people off the roads. And as for this business of them insisting on doing it at night. What's that all about? Why would you want to go anywhere by car when the pubs are open? Answer me that.

"If you ask me, these people want to show off or, and I know this sounds daft, they want to go somewhere and then, feck knows why, come back again. Who in the name of Holy Mary wants to watch that?

"We'll also put a stop to this nonsense of people buying tyres and thinking they can waltz off down the road, have no trouble whatsoever and we don't see them again for several months. Where's the common sense in that?

"We've got lots of really stupid ideas. But people are so thick these days that, as I said before, they'll watch anything you give them.

"Sorry, but you'll have to excuse me. Ernie Bucklestone's just called and arranged an appointment with a Mr. Gaddafi. He's in Libya. They had a few Grands Prix there in 1930s, y'know. One car racing against the other; that sort of thing. Load of nonsense. Of course, it never caught on.

"Apparently this Gaddafi fella wants to talk to us about putting NottoZero remoulds on his tanks so that they can creep about quietly at night. Bit of an uprising going on over there, I believe.

"It's a gimmick, of course. Tourism is down and people will do anything these days to improve the show."

Maurice Hamilton , a freelance motor sport writer and broadcaster since 1977, is the author of more than twenty books and contributes to websites and magazines worldwide.

His weekly column for Grandprix.com was Highly Commended in the 2011 Newspress New Media Awards.

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