bernieandmclaren.jpgBernie Ecclestone is being urged to end the customer car row. Now there are two kinds of customer car scenarios – teams like Honda and Red Bull that share their chassis willingly with Super Aguiri and STR, and teams like Ferrari that aren’t quite aware till much later that they are indeed sharing their chassis with…erm…other teams. Needless to say we are only talking about the first category here, for the second needs to be settled in court. That said, the general idea would be for Bernie to corner all the team principals into one room and get them to stop bickering for just long enough so as to get a few legal documents signed. Bernie apparently nearly achieved this impossible task during the Silverstone weekend, when all team bosses actually ‘verbally’ agreed on a few compromises. But as the entire place (covering a 20 mile radius) had run out of A grade paper (it is rumored serial-photocopier Mike Coughlan was in the neighborhood and had used up all the supplies), they had to leave it at that. For this weekend, a spokesman says Bernie has already packed in the required stationary along with his toothbrush and socks, but now STR has backed out of the verbal agreement, and we are all back to square one. Who said it was easy being Bernie Ecclestone?

And Bernie’s not the only one pulling his hair out in the paddock, BMW appears to be in some trouble as well. Having mastered the art of interpreting windtunnel readings, their engineers are in much demand from other teams who are still having problems sorting out which end of the windtunnel is which. If reports are to be believed (and they usually are), having already lost chief designer Jorg Zander and senior aerodynamicist John Owens to Honda, they have lost another aero guy Martin Bester to Williams. Williams has just installed a supercomputer with their wind tunnel setup, and apart from the occassional game of solitaire they are not really sure what to do with it. And that’s not all. There are rumors that two more aerodynamicists who went for a short stroll down the paddock were never seen again…well, not in the BMW camp at least. They are current rumored to be in the Renault payroll. BMW has been so affected by this mass exodus that they have been reduced to advertizing on Autosport for their chief designer position (honest!!) and till now they have received only a single application from Mike Coughlan. Needless to say they are going to wait for other applicants before arriving at a decision.

Meanwhile, it is quite well known that STR’s Gerhard Berger isn’t exactly a big fan of either Scott Speed or Vitantonio Liuzzi, and Liuzzi hasn’t won any brownie points by complaining about the STR reliability to the media. The STR management no doubt feels that if Liuzzi stopped spinning his car and started driving in straight lines, he might be able to evaluate the reliability a bit better. Now Berger has admitted to being deeply impressed by Sebastian Vettel – “The boy impresses me. He has brains and the right attitude for the job – and that is already half of everything you need” – and this doesn’t bode too well for Speed or Liuzzi. Luckily, Speed is not dependant on the STR seat for earning a living, as he obviously has other talents.