Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bernie Ecclestone ... Discuss

TAMMY: I'm seriously looking for anyone with insight here. Bernie Ecclestone runs Formula One. There are a lot of details about him actually being the president and CEO of two organizations that control ... blah, blah, blah. He runs the show. With an iron fist. I've been watching F1 more or less faithfully for four or five years now, and my impression of Bernie is that he's a money-grubbing, dictatorial, self-centered jerk. (I'm sure he doesn't care for me either, but I'm not the one demanding $50m for the pleasure of paying to put on a race in a city.) Bernie's exploits and rude comments are nearly legend, such as when he effectively called driver Jenson Button a wimp for thinking he was about to be mugged (with his bodyguard and driver) at machine-gunpoint in Brazil on the way home from the track. What he said was, "They look for people who aren't too bright...." Of course, Bernie was mugged and punched on a London street some months later....

Anyway, I don't mean to wish the man harm. But as in many of these columns, I'm looking for understanding. I get that Bernie runs the most expensive and glamorous racing spectacle on the planet with outrageously cool technology. But at some point, I have to ask: Why does everyone put up with him?

SIMON: Tammy, what do you expect from a secondhand car salesman? :-)

For me, Bernie has been a loveable rogue. His antics have been entertaining. His comments regarding ground effect cars still make me giggle.

I always feel that Bernie is a necessary evil. He’s a wheeler and dealer and I don’t think Formula One would be where it is today without him. And one thing you can say about him is that you know what kind of person he is. He's an open book, so at least you know who you’re dealing with.

TAMMY: What does everyone else think?

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