I’m surprised more hasn’t been made of the stories in the last day or so about the meeting between Flavio Briatore, Ron Dennis and Bernie Ecclestone, where Flavio is supposed to have threatened a FOTA boycott of Melbourne if the teams were not paid some money they claim BE owes them under the terms of the extended Concorde Agreement.
According to Ecclestone in the Times, “Flavio said, ‘We’re not going to put our cars on the plane, we’re not going to Melbourne.’ He started it aided and abetted by Ron Dennis.”
The pair are reported to have backed down after Ecclestone called their bluff and rang the freight company to cancel the planes.
Bernie was left unimpressed that the pair had not followed through on their threats,
“If they come in here with a gun and hold it to my head they had better be sure they can pull the trigger, ” he said. “And they should make sure that it’s got bullets in it because if they miss they better look out.”
I’m in the lounge at Kuala Lumpur airport at the moment, half way to Melbourne and unable to ask the relevant people about this story, but I shall when I get to the paddock on Thursday morning.
It comes on the back of the fall out from the ‘winner takes all’ points fiasco last week, where the teams were being fingered for playing a disruptive role. FOTA boss Luca di Montezemolo keeps saying they want a calm atmosphere to move the sport forward, but instead the message is coming out that the aggro is being ramped up, with the teams portrayed as the agitators.
This is setting the tone for the season. I’ve a nasty feeling the racing is going to be incidental.