Banter over breakfast

The Mole had wanted to stay at Boycott Manor, a select establishment not far from Silverstone, but apparently it was booked by the Michelin teams and so The Mole and his team ended up in a country house a little further out. It was agreeable enough with eggs and bacon for breakfast and idyllic drives on pleasant mornings. England in July can be a lovely place. Once in the Formula 1 Paddock, however, The Mole and his agents always find that there are too many things to do, and too many people to see. Even a low profile spook cannot be entirely invisible and so The Mole struggled to get from A to B, meeting old acquaintances and through politeness being delayed by idle but agreeable conversations. It is not like races for most of the F1 circus.

The paddock was heaving with people although The Mole, of course, carefully avoided being seen with any of the government ministers who were wandering about glad-handing the racing folk and minor celebrities, tailed as ever by their bodyguards.

"They had some lovely Glocks," said Penelope (Roedean) with a twinkle in her eye, when they gathered for a debrief at breakfast time on Monday. "One of them even took his out and showed me."

"Happens to you all the time, doesn't it?" said Penelope (Wycombe Abbey).

As they devoured the bacon and eggs, and the chunky marmalade and thick slabs of toast, the discussion was the information they had gathered during the weekend.

"Nick Fry was wearing some really hideous crocodile skin shoes," said Penelope (Cheltenham Ladies College). "The sort of things you see on the feet of a Cuban pimp."

"I did not know you knew any Cuban pimps," replied Penelope (Roedean).

"A professional relationship," shot back Penelope (Wycombe Abbey).

Penelope (Cheltenham Ladies College) sighed the sigh of the put-upon and said.

"It was something to do with charity," she said.

"I would hope so," said The Mole, closing the subject. "Annabel, what did you find out?"

The new girl smiled and began to report about her efforts to discover details of the Williams engine negotiations.

"The only other thing," she added, "is that Ron Dennis is going to Monaco on Friday for some meeting."

Penelope (Cheltenham Ladies College) looked up.

"So is Max Mosley," she said.

"So is Christian Horner," said Penelope (Wycombe Abbey).

The Mole raised a wizzened eyebrow.

"Now that is an odd group," he said. "Hardly a mutual-appreciation society."

Penelope (Roedean) smiled.

"Well," she said. "If they are not talking about it openly and those people are involved, it has to be some kind of an attempt to broker peace. The key is Horner. Why would he be there? The only conclusion that you can reach is that it is about the FIA International Court of Appeal. Dennis is representing the Michelin teams but Horner has to be there to represent Red Bull Racing because their defence was separate to the others."

"So?" said The Mole.

"Well, I guess that they will be telling Mosley that if the court upholds the decision of the World Council then there will be civil legal action and that means it will all affect the World Championship and drag on for months and so it is time for a compromise."

"Which is just what Mosley wants to hear," said The Mole, "because he more than anyone needs a compromise. He's been booming away all weekend, telling the sheep from Fleet Street that those who challenge him are going to lose the battle, while quietly worrying about the situation.

"The relationship between Mosley and the team owners is awful and there has been a lot of talk about trying to get rid of him. The debacle at Indianapolis and the subsequent World Council meeting have made things a lot worse and the sport is right on the edge. No-one wants a disaster and Max is not stupid. He is arrogant but never underestimate his intelligence. And never forget that he never forgets something his old father told him years ago: 'Be careful how you choose your enemies'.

"Max loves a good fight. He gets bored when there is no-one to out-smart and he enjoys the challenge of a battle."

"But now is a good time to calm things down and find a solution," said Annabel.

"Yeah," said Penelope (Roedean), "but you are not telling me that Mosley is going to publicly admit his mistakes."

"I did not say that," said The Mole, "but you know these kind of people always find a way to solve a problem.

"They can just blame it all on someone else. There's always the press to blame. That is the Blairite way."

There was a pause in the conversation.

"I would have loved to have Mosley up against Blair," said Penelope (Roedean).

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