The madness of King Bernie

Rain - coming to a desert near you (pic by Marcel Tauch)

For someone who speaks so slowly, softly and considerately Bernie Ecclestone certainly knows how to use words to provoke . From the mouth of the man who brought us such gems as medals in F1 and overtaking lanes, now we’ve been treated to artificial rain as Bernie’s latest suggestion to spice up ‘the show’. Is he mad? You could call him a lot of things, but crazy isn’t one of them.

Although the image of Bernie playing God with his magic rain button is an arresting one, as ever we need not panic about the sanctity of Formula One’s sporting credentials just because the boss has spoken. After all, he doesn’t like the silly overtaking flaps but they’re still happening for 2011, so what he says doesn’t always go.

It seems that Bernie is again using his words to worm his way into the headlines on his own terms, like the skilled politician his role has forced him to become. It’s clear he revels in getting the sport into the papers at the right moments and all the debate over pretend precipitation is a handy distraction from any awkward questions about F1’s presence in places where the populous is getting tetchy about those that govern them. I’d rather have a nice fantasy debate about Formula One racing in wet ‘weather’ than talking about the tense political situation in Bahrain, Bernie and the obliging press clearly think the same.

The really useful stuff was at the end of the Ecclestone interview where he talks of women running F1 in the future. As ever there is likely an agenda here, this time about his own thoughts on a succession plan. The little man with the big statements makes some salient points on women in business, “Women don’t get trapped so easily in their own ego” adding that, “they decide things less emotionally and in the end that serves the cause.”

All this from the man who once phoned up Danica Patrick and said that women were “domestic appliances”…

Is the ruler of Formula One mad? Like the sprinkler systems he pontificates about, Bernie’s madness is turned on and off whenever it suits him.

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