Home  /  March 2024  /  Comment

Now we know what the result of the 2024 FIA Formula One World Championship will be - Mad Max by a mile, let’s move on to the really racy stuff.

No reality TV show can survive without a sex scandal. F1 has it with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner allegedly sending his executive assistant, Fiona Hewitson, text messages that, if the files I’ve seen are real, include the compulsory dick pic (that Chris supposedly says is a finger pic), suggestions on how they could save the fizzy drink company money by sharing hotel rooms while they are at F1 races and remarks about his wife, Ginger Spice.

According to Businessf1 magazine, Red Bull was ready to fire Horner after Fiona sent a letter of complaint about sexual harassment. Horner’s lawyer pointed to a clause in the contract saying the team boss had a right to an independent investigation.

Following an eight-week inquiry by a barrister, The Hornster was cleared of “controlling and inappropriate behaviour”. Someone wasn’t happy with that decision and a day after the complaint was dismissed, a file of texts and pics alleged to contain evidence against Horner was emailed to the people running the sport and the media.

Then Mad Max’s Dad, Jos the Boss Verstappen, told the world that Red Bull would “explode” if the Hornster stayed in place.

It is believed Jos has been friends with Fiona for some time. Yesterday the UK media was reporting: “The worker who accused Christian Horner of inappropriate behaviour has been suspended with full pay” and the Times said it understood that the suspension “was a direct result of the independent investigation”.

Showing it pays to keep your head down, Australian driver for the worst-named team in racing history, Daniel Ricciardo, is in the middle of a sext storm after telling TV reporters: “Right now there is a lot of noise and distractions, there’s no doubt”. Naturally the X watchers lit up.

It’s a mess for the people involved, for Red Bull and F1. Horner says people are out to get him. Red Bull makes it worse by a lack of transparency and the media are busier than bricklayers in Beirut.

But as we’ll see next week, F1 has bigger issues. Like? Well like FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem under investigation for allegedly interfering over a Formula 1 race result. OK, remember to watch all the action from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this weekend on Kayo.

On Sydney’s Cockatoo Island last weekend the Sydney Harbour Concours d’Elegance had all the stuff Tay Tay didn’t, plus the News Corporation’s own Warren Brown who is driving a replica of the Bean car Francis Birtles drove from London to Melbourne 97 years ago at age 46.

Some of the cars at the Concours d’Elegance on Cockatoo Island.

Some of the cars at the Concours d’Elegance on Cockatoo Island.

Some of the cars at the Concours d’Elegance on Cockatoo Island.

Frank Birtles was an Australian adventurer, photographer, cyclist, and filmmaker, who set a heap of long-distance cycling and driving records and retired rich from discovering gold in the NT. Wocka Brown is a Daily Telegraph cartoonist, is unlikely to retire and will drive the 26,000km to mark his 60th birthday.

Concours founder James Nicholls managed to barge 75 classics on to the island including a 1945 Bugatti Type 57, a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Coupr, a 2015 McLaren P1, a 1991 Lamborghini Diablo, a 1951 Porsche 356 Cabriolet and three Ferrari Dino 246 GTs.

The judges picked the 1964 Ferrari 250 LM. A good choice. This is a $30m car. Owned by legendary car and yacht racer Peter Harburg, it was driven by Britain’s John Surtees, the only person ever to win World Championships on both two and four wheels. He was a seven-time Grand Prix motorcycle World Champion and an F1 world champ and as far as we know didn’t send dick pics to anyone.

Look, this was an invitation-only affair for classy people not unlike the readers of this column. Don’t feel bad if you weren’t invited and missed the free Champagne Pommery and the equally fine Château La Gordonne rosé, and the sensational cooking by Sean Connelly (no relation so the food was fine to eat).

But I did see Spencer Martin who raced a Feezer 250LM at Le Mans; Ampol chairman Steve Gregg; former optician, luxury real estate salesperson and classic collector Ken Jacobs; Sydney FC chairman, Scott Barlow; former law clerk and now real estate gun Shaun Bonnet and Dr Umberto Galloni from San Marino. Umberto was fresh from his second place, with daughter Alice, at the 1000 Miglia Experience UAE, in his 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Turismo which he then drove to Cockatoo Island.

Now organisers did want me to highlight that there was a large collection of highly priced electric vehicles, particularly the Rolls-Royce Spectre which can be yours on the road for a close to $900k. I did notice the Spectre has a redesigned Spirit of Ecstasy on the top of the bonnet. The SoE was originally designed by Chuck Sykes in the shape Elanor the secret lover of Baron Montagu of Beaulieu. (These car people can’t stop themselves, can they?)

On the Sceptre, the flowing robes (often mistaken for outstretched wings), have been reshaped for a realistic look, with a lower and more dynamic stance, which makes her (the SoE, not Elanor) more aerodynamic.

Cockatoo Island is the perfect place for an exclusive car event. Not only could you walk around a lot of serious old and new cars, but most of them also went for a drive around. And the army band alone was worth the price of admission. I didn’t pay but made a serious donation to Legacy who the soldiers were collecting cash for on the weekend.

Anyway I’d be putting your name down now for next year.

Finally, you have all read the reports of an unnamed Australian selling this country out to a foreign country. Our WART team member, Michael McMichael, of Stepney wants to stop the vicious rumours that it’s him, although, in the interests of full transparency, he wanted it known that he did eat last Tuesday night at the Hong Fat BBQ Restaurant and “the bill will show I only ate from the Australian menus”.



Support great journalism and subscribe 

Recent articles from this author

Article Search