EFF ONE

You might have read that a couple of weeks ago, former Formula 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell had to deal with eight intruders at his Jersey mansion.

Well, I have it on good authority that, now he's an F1 superstar, a very contrite Fernando Alonso has promised to return Nigel's missing eyebrows...

On the subject of mistaken identities, I have found myself working for Chinese television for the last few races. I can only assume I was picked out because after a long night on the sauce, my eyes tend to take on a decidedly Oriental look in the vicious light of day.

Naturally, my mastery of the microphone has impressed my new bosses, but apparently they want to make me more accessible to my millions of adoring fans and from now on I am to be given a Chinese name which they have selected as my "showbiz" moniker. I don't know what it means or how to pronounce it...

...but I do know it's Number 32 on the menu.

Along with China, Bahrain is due to host a race next year and a delegation of 90 or so Bahrainis were bumbling about in the Barcelona paddock. They had got on a scheduled Gulf Air flight to London and conveniently had it diverted to Barcelona (without even using sharp objects), much to the irritation of their fellow passengers. Of course, the only reason we are going desert racing next year is that the country has got so much money it doesn't know what to do with it. The delegation was made up of a mixture of people involved in staging the new event; everything from press staff to marshals, who were let loose on the track to practice their flag-waving skills under the guidance of their Spanish hosts. I spotted one of them twirling away and it was definitely the first time I have seen a yellow flag waved by a man wearing a gold Rolex encrusted.

There was more money floating around the paddock in the shape of 17-year-old Adam Langley-Khan, an Anglo-Mongolian driver who is contesting the new Formula Renault V6 series. Langley-Khan was in Spain with his Dad for the announcement that his career is going to be "endorsed" by Eddie Jordan. Khan pere et fils cut unlikely figures as they were both wearing identical double-breasted suits, white shirts and multi-colored ties. I wasn't sure if they were angling for a drive with the 1920s Bentley Boys at Le Mans, or impersonating Terry Thomas in bad 1950s British movies.

Khan's father got very carried away with the excitement of it all and ended up telling one journalist that "people like this only come along every hundred years," before mentioning his son's name in the same breath as those of Elvis Presley and Mohammed Ali.

Khan's results to date have been 14th and DNF in Barcelona and 14th and 11th at Magny-Cours.

There are 19 cars in the championship.

Given that he is managed by the same man who brought us Alex Yoong, one must suppose that Khan will sting like a butterfly before ending up in Heartbreak Hotel...

Poor old Antonio Pizzonia was in the wars after the Jag PR machine fed the media stories which suggested the Brazilian's imminent demise from F1. The inquisition that Jaguar underwent in Spain later caused the team to recant but for the Grand Prix weekend Pizzonia's management decided to wheel out a PR specialist of their own to help with damage-limitation. To say the lady in question had her work cut out would be like suggesting that Baghdad bricklayers are under-employed at the moment.

A couple of years ago (amazingly) I was asked to do some PR for Pizzonia. The deal fell through because the man himself did not like the cut of my jib. I recounted this story to his PR lady at one point and later when I bumped into her she sighed, "I wish you'd got the job!"

She seemed a little frazzled, poor dear.

For reasons which escape me, Toyota has decided to hold a dinner in Monaco for all those Formula 1 journalists who have worked at over 300 Grands Prix. Given that there are only 16 or 17 races a year it does not Albert Einstein to calculate that some of them have been around for rather a long time. In fact when it comes to their birthdays, the candles cost more than the cake.

Thankfully, being a mere strip of a lad, I don't (quite) qualify, but I would offer the Japanese team some tips on how to organize the dinner.

Firstly, it should be on the ground floor of a restaurant as the old boys won't be able to manage the stairs.

Secondly, there should be plenty of toilets to cope with incontinence problems.

Thirdly, the food should be easily chewable in case of problems with dentures and finally, don't expect many people to turn up, as half of them will have forgotten all about it by the time the dinner is due to take place.

Speaking of things that move slowly, I couldn't help noticing a poster in the back of one of the BMW trucks. It featured a lovingly-rendered image of a tortoise. Except that scrawled underneath it were the letters "FW25".

On the flight home, I was flicking through F1 Magazine, the publication owned by Bernie Ecclestone. I spotted that one of his daughters features on the list of staff. Very commendable that despite his wealth, Mr. E is ensuring that his children learn about life in the real world - and it doesn't come much tougher than putting a magazine together.

However, it did remind me of the son of an American millionaire who fancied taking up golf. He rang his father and asked him to buy him some golf clubs. Dad duly obliged by purchasing St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Gleneagles, Wentworth and Augusta.

Maybe Ms. E simply rang Dad one day and asked him to buy her a magazine on his way home from work.

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