I have a friend who says the first thing that comes into his head. This gets him into a lot of trouble.
This is something Formula One guru Bernie Ecclestone is no doubt familiar with, especially in light of his recent remarks to the media about F1 icon Ayrton Senna. The original story in the Spanish newspaper El Pais can be found here.
|AP FILE PHOTO|
|Jenson Button autographs an Ayrton Senna poster last month. Since his death in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, Senna has become an icon among racing fans.|
As my friend's wife says to him: “Think before you speak. Count to three before opening your mouth.”
Sometimes he does; sometimes he doesn't. But her good counsel is a constant in his life.
Ecclestone’s problem is that his ex-wife Slava isn’t around anymore to, a) tell him to shut up or, b) beat him up if he doesn’t.
Have you noticed that Ecclestone’s been putting his foot in his mouth a lot more since his wife divorced him? He’s always been right-wing, confrontation and controversial but there was always a degree of political correctness to everything he said. But since the split, there’s been no shades of grey; everything’s been black and white.
First, there was the Hitler thing. That’s when he suggested you had to admire the guy because he knew how to get things done.
Now he’s gone and said that the death of Ayrton Senna was a good thing for Formula One.
Ecclestone looks at the world differently than most people. He’s a “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” kind of guy. Or, “I don’t care what you say about me so long as you spell my name correctly.”
So when Senna was killed, it was front-page news around the world. People who couldn’t give two hoots about the sport knew all about it. In Ecclestone's view, that’s a positive. In Ecclestone's vew, that’s good for the sport.
It isn’t, of course. Death tends to put off more people than it titillates.
But don’t tell that to Ecclestone. He’s not listening – and there’s nobody around to make him.
I put my foot in my mouth Sunday night when I wrote my opinion about the Brazilian Grand Prix and mentioned that Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen were probably driving their final races for McLaren and Ferrari, respectively.
Of course, I also happened to mention that there was an upcoming Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. Several people who took time to comment pointed out that Kovalainen and Raikkonen will likely be driving in that race.
Now, I could be a smart guy and say those guys were probably driving in the last race that counted, but I won’t.
It was brain fade. I was careless. I apologize.