Like most people with their head stuck firmly up their arse I see the events of the world as a peculiar reflection of my own life – you can call it conceit, or vanity or being self centred but I?m probably the only person in the world who sees the Formula One motor racing championship as a lightning rod for events in his own career. Depending on the success or failure of my last directing gig I wonder if I’m perceived as an Eddie Irvine (past his prime, overpaid, full of excuses) or a Michael Schumacher (a God, a genius, the master, worth every penny). Truth is I?m probably the rock video equivalent of David Coulthard – consistent, determined, diligent, hard-working, polite, always a threat but, let?s face it, never likely to be world champion. I?m a big fan of David?s because I feel our careers follow similar paths. OK so I?m not shagging gorgeous leggy models, I?m not a millionaire and I don?t live in Monaco but I?m working on it!
This year the pundits have maligned David because he hasn?t performed the way he was expected to despite the fact that his car is obviously seriously underpowered. The guy on Speed Channel even suggested that he was a simply hopeless driver who should never have been given a Formula One car to drive. Quite an accusation for a man who?s been on the podium more than 50 times and has accumulated more F1 points than Jackie Stewart!
As you can see I?m passionate about F1 which brings us to another driver who?s been derided a lot recently – Rubens Barrichello. (I?m not a fan by the way). Despite some bad luck, Barrichello has driven incredibly well the last few F1 races and Schumacher, the Michael Jordan, the Tiger Woods of F1 has had to really pull his finger out to beat Barichello in qualifying. In Austria last week, Barrichello won pole and Schumacher could only get third on the grid! That showed ?em all – go Rubens!
Then came the scandal. Rubens lead the race easily, and on the final lap pulled over at the last moment to let Schumacher win! The crowd booed, and turned their thumbs down – F1 fans around the world were apoplectic with rage. The Ferrari bosses had told Barrichello to pull over and, having just been signed up for another 2 years for a boatload of cash no doubt, Barrichello felt duty bound to obey. It?s happened before but never with such shameless regard for the sport. The excuse Ferrari used (despite Schumacher?s monstrous lead in this year?s championship) is that maybe he?ll need the points to stay in the lead later in the season. Despite having the fastest car this year Ferrari might as well put punctures in everyone else?s tyres just to be sure of winning. And why is it all so important? Money and sponsorship of course. Imagine the furore if some world class golfer, with the same sponsor as Tiger Woods, purposefully punted his ball into the rough when he was inches from the pin so that Tiger could slip into first place.
Ferrari, you screwed up. My conclusion goes like this: Barrichello comes first, Schumacher wins, Ferrari loses.
POSTSCRIPT…Having been summoned to Paris On June 26th Ferrari, Schumacher and Barrichello were fined a total of $1 million for breach of podium ettiquette.