THE MOLE

Pepper Pot

The Mole has a man who is high up in the Bundeskriminalamt, which is otherwise known as the BKA. This is Germany's version of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its 5000 employees spend their time chasing drug barons, terrorists, money-launderers, terrorists and other Euro-scum. The Mole's man works in an anonymous concrete building in Meckenheim-Merl, a very dull suburb of Bonn. He has the unfortunate codename of Pepper Pot, having started with the service in the same era as the famous "Steak Knife" when the fashion was naming agents after kitchen utensils.

The Mole was happily shopping in Zurich on Saturday when Pepper Pot rang on the mobile.

"We must talk of industrial espionage," he said.

The Mole replied (as always) that such matters were best discussed in person and it was agreed a meeting would be held at lunchtime on Monday in Bonn. At 07.02 on Monday morning The Mole left Zurich aboard an Inter City Express (ICE) train. The ICE is the ultimate fast train, getting up to speeds of 200mph while also providing phones, outlets for laptops and even TVs. The Mole had an agreeable breakfast and spent the morning reading the latest reports from his operatives in the field.

Shortly before lunchtime the Siegburg-Bonn ICE station and The Mole was met on the platform by two serious-looking men holding up a sign which read: "Herr Mole". He was taken to a rather nice hotel out in the country.

"The ICE train is cool," said Pepper Pot, without realizing his joke.

"Yes," said The Mole, "it's very impressive although I am not sure about the pink pin-striping."

"In Germany the trains run on time," said Pepper Pot, without the trace of a smile.

The Mole nodded.

"Point taken," he said. "We in Britain cannot claim such efficiency."

"You should copy the Germans," said Pepper Pot.

"Let's talk about this Toyota business," said The Mole, moving swiftly to the point.

Pepper Pot explained that Ferrari had complained to the Italian police that one of its aerodynamicists may had taken some data to Panasonic Toyota Racing in Cologne.

"There are two ways to read this story," The Mole said finally. "Ferrari either has some good evidence and Italian justice is very slow. Or Ferrari has not got enough to nail this guy and are simply doing all of this to try to destabilize Toyota, which would mean that Ferrari feels threatened."

Pepper Pot was shaken.

"Listen," said The Mole. "You have heard of a chap called Carl Von Clausewitz?"

"Ja," said the German.

"He wrote a book called On War in which he expounded the belief that war should be total."

"Ja," said the German.

"Well," said The Mole. "He stole that idea from the Duke of Wellington who first used it during the Peninsular War of 1810."

"Ja?" said The German.

"Anyway," said The Mole. "Clausewitz's theories have developed into all kinds of modern warfare, ranging from saturation bombing to the use of saboteurs, propaganda and disinformation.

"And what does this mean in motor racing?" said Pepper Pot.

"Well, my little pfeffered friend, motor racing teams like to think that they are at a war and say that they will use every means at their disposal to win."

"So," said Pepper Pot. "What you are saying is that in the end Ferrari will bomb the Williams factory."

"Yah!" said The Mole.

"But this is not sport!" said The German.

"Formula 1 teams don't play cricket," said The Mole. "Sport is war. The gladiatorial contests of the Roman Empire were no different. In those days the emperor watched from the grandstand. Today we are all emperors, watching from our sofas."

There was a pause.

"So you think Toyota has data from Ferrari?" said Pepper Pot.

The Mole shrugged.

"You guys raided Toyota and took away the computers," he said. "If you find anything with Ferrari written on it then I guess someone is going to get into trouble but the courts will laugh at you if you only have smoking gun evidence. I tend to think that Ferrari knows that. If it had any real evidence then all this would have happened months ago. It is nine months since I first heard the rumours. How are you going to prove that the engineer involved did not have the whole thing in his head? That is not against the law. It is only if you can find data that you have a case."

The German nodded.

"There is a long history of espionage in motor racing?" he said.

"Right from the start," said The Mole. "I could give you hundreds of examples. And some very funny ones too. All kinds of people have been caught measuring cars when they should not have been measuring them. Not so long ago the McLaren team caught a rival aerodynamicist inside one of its trucks and locked him in for a few hours just for fun."

"But what about Shadow and Arrows in 1977?"

"Arrows was buying time. It was patently obvious that the team was racing with a Shadow chassis that was because the whole design team from Shadow had moved to Arrows and did not have time to do anything else. They knew they would lose any legal action but it gave them the chance to start the season and then build another car before the law suit was over.

"In 1979 the Tyrrell 009 might easily have been mistaken for a Lotus 79. In the late 1980s there was one car which was known as "the little blue Ferrari" because it looked just like the previous year's car from Maranello. And in the 1990s anyone might have mistaken the 1996 Ligier Mugen for a 1995 Benetton."

Then The Mole looked around furtively.

"And I'll tell you another one too," he whispered. "Back in 1981 one well known team which was not good at building chassis but very good at producing powerful engines sent its engineers to break into the Williams garage one night in Brazil. They measured the Williams chassis from one end to the other and the following year their car was much more competitive."

"Really?" said Pepper Pot. "Who was that?"

"Oh I am sure it is just a myth," said The Mole.

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