A lot of old Red Bull

The winter had descended on London and the girls had disappeared inside sexless coats, named after the town of Duffel in Belgium (misspelled in the finest English tradition), where Flemish weavers first created the coarse woollen material that is so popular at this time of year in frosty England.

"God, it's cold!" said Penelope (Roedean), as she arrived in the office, her nose and cheeks pinkened by an audience with Mother Nature. "This is a bitch of a place at this time of year!"

The Mole nodded. He had been there a while and was glowingly warm and armed with a nice cup of tea.

"You could be in Austria," he mused. "Much colder there."

"Hah!" said Penelope. "That sounds much nicer: big log fires, gluhwein and hunky blond men in thick woollen sweaters. Yummy."

"Complete with frozen brains," said The Mole.

"That's racist!" said Penelope.

"I don't think so," said The Mole, aiming to irritate. "It might be tribe-ist or perhaps nationist but I believe we all belong to the human race and all men and women are, in fact, made of the same blood. The Austrians therefore are of the same race as we are. Everything else is evolutionary connotation."

"Fiddle-dee-dee," said Penelope. "Anyway, I like Austrians. And that is the end of it."

"I suppose you have a particular soft spot for Dietrich Mateschitz," said The Mole.

"Show me a girl who doesn't perk up a bit when she sees a billionaire." said Penelope.

"I think that's a sexist remark," said The Mole.

Penelope ignored him.

"And right now Mateschitz is very popular in glamorous Milton Keynes having saved all those jobs at Jaguar Racing."

"A purely humanitarian gesture, I am sure," said The Mole. "I think, my dear, that he might be intending to use the team for the commercial purpose of selling more of that sweet Red Bull liquid that the youth of today loves and cherishes."

"We drink it!" said Penelope. "We don't smear it over our bodies. Well, unless it's been a really good party."

The Mole raised a wizzened eyebrow.

"I just cannot see the whole thing working," said The Mole.

"Oh, it works," said Penelope.

"No, not the drink," said The Mole. "I mean the team. You have a bunch of old Jaguar men and then some eccentric Austrians. You have to remember that Mateschitz and his buddies have some pretty weird ideas about drivers. Do you remember when he fell out with Peter Sauber over the subject of Kimi Raikkonen. Sauber wanted to sign Kimi, Mateschitz was insisting on Enrique Bernoldi."

"I think Sauber might have been right on that one," said Penelope.

"Well, now we have a situation where there seem to be three drivers in the frame and no decision is being made. They are some guys who want an experienced driver and it seems that Mateschitz is keen on the idea of David Coulthard. Some of the team are not. And that creates a problem because that leaves two young guys and only one seat. Calvin, I mean Christian, Klien is Austrian but he's obviously not as fast as Vitantonio Liuzzi, despite the fact that he has an extra year of F1 experience. Anyone with a brain would see that they have not even scratched the surface of what Liuzzi can do and yet there are some of the people there who think they should sign Klien because Liuzzi has no experience."

"It would serve them right if he went off and signed for another team," said Penelope.

She paused for a moment.

"Are they really serious?" she said.

"I don't know," said The Mole. "There seems to be a whole lot of politics going on down there in Milton Keynes. I guess that the Jaguar people want to suck up to Mateschitz a bit before telling him he's wrong. And I bet that this sort of thing has upset the usual crowd of Austrians that like to hang out with him because they will feel they are being pushed aside. He probably doesn't know who he should be listening to."

"But he will know that the Austrians expect an Austrian driver," said Penelope. "They are a nationalistic lot and back home in Fuschl am See I am sure that Matechitz can hear the drums beating. And he's got his thing about Americans as well. He wants an American in F1 so he can sell more of drink over there.

"How are they are all going to get it together and work like a well-oiled machine before the start of the season?" said The Mole.

"I don't suppose they are," said Penelope. "It all sounds like a bit of a mess. The next thing will be that we start to see people leaving."

"Did I mention that Dr Mark Gillan is going off to become a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Surrey?" said The Mole.

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