Here is why Mark Martin has so many fans.
My friend Bob Bishop sent him a Tweet the other day and, lo and behold, he got an answer back from the man himself.
Short, sweet and to the point - but it was an answer.
Way to go, Mark Martin. I'm a fan now, too!
Now, I reported in one of my blog items Sunday from Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal that Sergio Marchionne, the Canadian head of Fiat and Chrysler Corp., was very visible in the Ferrari hospitality area.
I told a photographer friend of mine in one of the media lounges about this and he said, in reference to Marchionne's reputation as a cost-cutter, "I imagine he was making a mental note of the amount of champagne and caviar they were serving their guests and preparing to dictate a memo suggesting they stop being so extravagant!"
So is it a coincidence that two days after the Canadian Grand Prix, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo posts a statement on the team's website suggesting support for big cost cutting in F1?
I see two things at play here: Marchionne has undoubtedly told the team its budget will have to be cut (Fiat owns Ferrari) because Europe is in the process of going into recession, if not depression, and money will be in short supply because fewer cars will be sold And the team's primary sponsor, the Spanish bank Santander, is having to tighten its belt (its credit rating was downgraded Tuesday) and that could have a negative impact on its investment in the team.
So, suddenly, the team that enjoyed superior, steady sponsorship for years, primarily from Philip Morris International (Marlboro cigarettes), plus bonus payouts from F1 that were stipulated in the old Concorde Agreement (bribe money for signing that document, in fact) which may be included in the new agreement (but probably aren't), is now about to find out how the other half lives.
It will be really interesting to see how that team reacts to a level playing field. Or one that's more level, at least.