THE MOLE

Oops, the keystone fell out

The Mole had always been a fan of great architecture and appreciates a well-built flying buttress or a nicely-rounded vault. The modern steel and concrete frames with fancy facades are not that exciting for him.

"He has the same view of women," said Penelope (Roedean) one day to the gaggle of girls in the office. "He likes girls with a bit of substance not the Barbie doll types one finds in Essex."

"It's like a nice wine," said Annabel, the girl with the great misfortune not to have been born a Penelope. "He likes flavours at different levels."

"Well, it is a bit like frocks, isn't it?" said Penelope (Roedean). "There's nothing I hate more than a frock that isn't well built. It can be awfully embarrassing when things fall off at the wrong moment. You know, you see all those shots of film stars with their breasts hanging out at the big soiree at Cannes because no-one has done the calculations."

"Really?" said The Mole, entering the room at precisely the right moment. "And tell me, my dears, where it is one sees this sort of thing."

Miss Pringle-Fetherby (of the Berkshire Pringle-Fetherbys) blushed as would any nicely brought-up young lady from the Home Counties.

"Magazines," replied Penelope (Roedean), trying hard not to be a well brought-up young lade from the Home Counties.

"Well, I've not seen any of that sort of thing in Country Life," said The Mole.

"Nor in Horse and Hound," said Penelope, with her tongue firmly in her cheek. Actually, sir, we were talking about architecture and how the good stuff is always well-balanced. How it all fits together."

"Absolutely," said The Mole. "Things have to be balanced or the whole thing falls down."

It was, he pondered later over tea and a Rich Tea biscuit, a bit like the balance of power in Formula 1. With the Grand Prix Manufacturers on the one side and Formula One Management (whoever that may be this week) on the other. In the middle was Williams, the last of the big F1 brands not to declare itself one way or the other. And now Williams has jumped ship and decided to throw its lot in with Formula One Management, the FIA and Ferrari. The Establishment, if you like. The GPMA has made a big deal about how it is going to stay together but the fact is that the are cracks appearing in the ceiling. Anyone who is anyone in F1 circles knows that the fight is now over. The manufacturers have had their chance to do their own thing and did not have the fortitude to put their money where their mouths have been. There are still some questions over sports governance but these are not likely to be a deal-breaker as once they were. The latest financial deal from FOM is very sensible and one can almost smell a deal in the air.

The two Japanese manufacturers want to switch over too but they have signed a document not to do so until September next year, unless everyone agrees to change their minds. Renault is rumoured to be leaving the sport at the end of 2007 and so is against the idea of a new financial deal that begins in 2008. The two German manufacturers are the hardliners, but no-one really cares what they are saying because a great deal has been achieved and now is the time to do a deal. Everyone knows that you cannot build a World Championship with just two teams.

"I wonder what it took," said The Mole out loud. "Frank is no fool. He will have got his pound of flesh. He had the whip hand in the negotiations."

The Mole's spies at Grove insist that Williams will get the same money as everyone else in the new deal and there is no real reason to doubt that, although The Mole cannot help but wonder whether there was a parallel settlement of another dispute which goes back eight years or so to when McLaren and Williams agreed to sign up to the then new Concorde Agreement of 1997. It was done on the understanding that they would get one percent of the business if FOM was sold. The problem was that in the small print there was an apparent mistake which allowed Bernie Ecclestone to sell the business without giving them the necessary. It was a complicated business but all to do with which company owned what. Williams and McLaren claimed later that the legal work had been faulty and have been suing their legal advisors.

The funny thing is that those cases were due to come to court in January with everyone looking forward to some juicy stories about the whole business. Suddenly, on the very day that Williams settled the Concorde Agreement business, there was a hearing at the High Court which resulted in Williams walking away from its case again the legal people. What on earth could have made them do that?

Just like architecture and frocks, politics is all about balance and when one thing happens, there is a balance somewhere else that is upset.

Click here to read previous Mole columns: The Mole Archive

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