THE MOLE

Idealists be damned

The Mole believes that the best way to solve a problem is to use a women to sort things out. Thus it is that the major operatives of the Motor Racing and Tinpot Dictator Department are all women and by chance all are called Penelope. In fact one is called Jane but the staff call her Penelope so as not confuse matters. They come from the finest girls schools in England: Roedean, Cheltenham Ladies College, Wycombe Abbey and Beneden. When they leave Oxford or Cambridge (London just won't do) they are taken off and trained in a variety of nice country houses and emerge, each armed with a Downsizer WSP pistol, ready for action.

They drink their Martinis stirred rather than shaken.

The Mole's female army is famous in the intelligence community but it is a little known fact that most of the other staff are also women. The Mole, like Bernie Ecclestone, likes to have female lawyers and is very fond of his current Legal Counsel even though she has the great misfortune to be called Norma. But on Saturday he was less than pleased when Norma telephoned just as they were finishing their bacon and eggs. The Mole had planned to spend the day with his grandchildren and was irritated to hear that Norma thought he ought to read the full Jordan judgement.

But Mr Justice Langley was a Balliol man and a fellow member of the Travellers' Club and The Mole concluded that it would be a dereliction of duty not to plough through the whole report. By the end of it, The Mole was amazed how lucky Eddie Jordan is to have got away as lightly in the press as he did.

But at the same time he was depressed for such things are never good for the sport.

On Sunday Mrs Mole had insisted that they all go to the Winkworth Arboretum where The Mole had found nothing worth winking at then on Monday morning Oswald the chauffeur was late arriving.

"There won't be no traffic in August, Sir" he said as they set off. But he was rather quiet as they sat in a jam at The Robin Hood Roundabout.

The Mole used the time to go through a backlog of papers including a rather odd article from The Guardian about Formula 1 not being very egalitarian.

"Did you see this tosh in The Guardian?" he said when he finally strode into the department. "There's this old Marxist chap banging on about Formula 1 not being a sport for the people because there are no Eskimos in it. It is priceless. 'The 20 drivers are, with the exception of the three Latin Americans, all from the developed world."

"Well the author hasn't been to Scotland then," said one of the Penelopes.

"Wander round the paddock and you will be hard-pressed to find a non-white face. No team principals, no designers, no team managers, one driver: a sea of white faces."

"What about Flavio Briatore?" said another Penelope.

The Mole ignored the remark and went on reading.

"You will find only a handful of exceptions: the odd mechanic, Michael Schumacher's physio, Jaguar's spin doctor, Bridgestone's boss. How can a sport that is so white claim to be global in a world where whites account for a mere 17% of the population?'.

"Football and athletics allow us to imagine a different world, to escape from a reality always dominated by the First World, to enjoy and savour a world turned upside down. It is their special magic. Formula 1lives, breathes and excretes the domination of the First World."

"Total bloody rubbish," said Number Two. "There aren't any white men in athletics, are there? Does this idealist address that issue? And I don't see any Chinese playing cricket. Nor, come to think of it, are there many Red Indians playing for Real Madrid."

"Quite," said The Mole. "Oh well, I am sure that our democratic little friend will be happy when everyone in the world has a car and they are all stuck in traffic jams and pumping out pollution. I suppose it will give him something to write about when we do one day live in the perfect world."

He strode into his office, sat down and looked at his IN tray.

"Oh no," he groaned. "Not more bloody Jordan."

There was a lengthy (one might even say verbose) report on the relationship between Jordan Grand Prix and the Ford Motor Company. Jordan, it said, has been talking to both Ford and Mercedes-Benz about its engine supply for 2004. EJ is a bit short of cash and cannot really afford to pay the $20m or so that he needs for his Ford Cosworth RS V10 engines. The problem is that, last year, he signed a three-year deal and the suits at Ford are not keen that he sneak out of it because the money that comes from Jordan is used to help balance the books at Jaguar Racing. Thus if Jordan runs to Mercedes, Jaguar might not have the budget needed to compete in F1 and that would be a huge disaster because not just Jaguar but also probably Minardi would end up going down the tube.

Jordan's aim, so the report said, is to join forces with Mercedes-Benz, which offered him an engine at considerably less money than Ford is offering. Mercedes-Benz, the big cheese in the GPWC, has never really wanted to supply customer engines but is committed to do so because back in the winter its boss Jurgen Hubbert, trying to make the GPWC sound attractive, put something about cheap engines in writing. The existence of that letter could torpedo Ford's involvement in F1 and that would be bad news for the GPWC so Mercedes is pedalling backwards at great speed, while pretending not to and Jordan is rushing after them with open arms, trying to win friends by saying that he would happily sign up Mercedes-Benz contracted driver Nick Heidfeld.

There was a knock at the door. It was Number Two.

"Have you read the Jordan thing?" he asked.

The Mole nodded.

"What is the solution to this mess?"

"I think that best thing is for us to get the Chinese to buy the team. EJ can take some money and go off and not have to worry about anything apart from being famous; Ford and Mercedes-Benz would be fighting over the deal rather than running away and even that chap at The Guardian would be happy."

Click here to read previous Mole columns: The Mole Archive

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