APRIL 3, 2006

Briatore's humour lost in translation

Flavio Briatore is well known for his theatrical tendencies, particularly on the pitwall at races, but his sense of humour landed him in hot water in Germany over the weekend after he went down to the Mercedes-Benz garage in Melbourne to visit Norbert Haug and attracted the attention of his black leather jacket-clad pal with what eyewitnesses say was a stiff-armed salute and a click of his heels. Those present say that Haug responded by placing one figure under each of his own nostrils. While this may have been to stop his upper lip trembling with the emotion caused by Briatore's gesture, it seems more likely that Herr Haug was responding in a jocular manner. A passing German photographer thought Briatore's salute was newsworthy and the picture was published in Bilt, which suggested the obvious. In Germany it is a very serious thing to give a Nazi salute and those found guilty can be fined and even jailed.

Briatore is threatening to sue the newspaper in question.

Hopefully everyone will learn something from this interlude and European union can be restored quickly.