Over the white line: Ronaldo’s most expensive corner ever
By LJ Hutchins
Sunday, February 22nd, 2009
Evidence has appeared in the Brits on Pole inbox this week that money is truly not proof against life’s ills – although we will admit that it probably has quite an insulating effect.
What has prompted this burst of philosophy? Why, an article in The Times detailing how the company running Manchester Airport is now chasing star footballer Ronaldo for £20,000 to repair a road-tunnel that took collateral damage when he crashed a £200,000 Ferrari into it.
The young Portugese player, who was on his way to Old Trafford for training at the time of the accident, reportedly earns £120,000 a week – and is not satisfied with that – so the money is the equivalent of a night down the pub for you and me.
According to The Times, the airport has contacted Ronaldo’s insurers to ask him to cough up for repairs to damaged brickwork, buckled railings and the smashed exit door.
A Manchester Airport spokesman is quoted as saying: “Part of the airport’s infrastructure was damaged in a road traffic accident and as is normal practice our insurers are talking to the other party’s insurance company.”
Now, if only someone can persuade Sir Richard Branson to crash-land a jet at Brackley…
Here’s some of the racing and automotive news that has caught our eye this week:
- Our ‘What were they thinking?’ award for (unintentionally?) smutty headline of the week goes to Pitpass for this sterling effort which brought out our inner twelve-year-old: Ecclestone would welcome Virgin in F1. Snerk. Not to mention what Max Mosley would welcome. Snorfle. The silly jokes that inevitably follow could make unkind reference to certain drivers who don’t look old enough to shave, never mind sh… Ahem. There could be a lot more of this kind of nonsense on the way if Branson does sign on the dotted line, most of it centred on Jenson Button driving round in a car emblazoned with the word ‘Virgin’ (But he’s won a race and everything!) Meanwhile, we’re sure you’ve got plenty of similar examples of your own, do feel free to share so we can all join in with the childish sniggering.
- IRL news is rather thinner on the ground than we’d like at present as the teams thrash out their 2009 lineups during a difficult period. The financial pain has been eased at Newman/Haas/Lanigan by the advent of Milka Duno shopping around for a pay drive, as well as Minardi’s F1 and Champ Car veteran Robert Doornbos looking for the best home for his considerable personal sponsorship. Rumours concerning the man affectionately known to British fans as “Doorknobs” have finally hardened into something concrete. He’s hardly been unemployed – he’s had drives for Team Netherlands in A1GP and AC Milan in Superleague Formula – but good news about the Minardi diaspora is always welcome.
- Talk about IRL and you’re never far from mentioning Andretti Green driver Danica Patrick. This week the big question is: is La Patrick interested in driving for the soon-to-be-formed USF1 outfit? And is it interested in her? The answer to the second question is a no-brainer, because wherever Danica goes the publicity follows. But her opinions are less clear. Is she interested? Or isn’t she? We always thought she was an obvious choice – at least for a test – but the powerful Andretti family is definitely best not offended at this point in her career…
- The GP2 Asia news service certainly caught our eye this week with its headline “Campos Closing”. Another big-name team on the skids? A shock as great as the loss of Honda from F1? Fiddlesticks. The story turns out to concern the leading article in its latest online magazine – detailing how how the Spanish outfit is moving in on the top spot in the championship race, currently occupied by DAMS. We guess a headline’s done its job if it makes you click through. View the ezine here.
- We’d like to feature F1 team Williams more – it would be unkind, if a bit true, to say they never give us much of an excuse. However, we want to see them do well, and even half-heartedly supported them when McLaren fielded Juan-Pablo Montoya in place of David Coulthard. (Which just went to prove how a sports team chooses you rather than the opposite.) Possibly James Allen feels similarly, having taken to task those people giving the Grove outfit an unduly hard time about its finances: “Williams is actually quite well placed to weather the F1 recession. Because of the deal it did with Bernie Ecclestone and its long history in the sport, its share of the commercial revenues is fairly high and as budgets come down, forcing the front running teams to learn how to do it with less, Williams has a head start in the area of running a tight ship. But they need to rediscover the art of building fast cars.” Amen to that. Read the full piece here.
- Why is it that you can give a man (and it is men, so far) the fastest piece of machinery to run on tarmac, pay him a fortune to drive it, and he still wants to play around with go-karts? Felipe Massa is the leader of the bicycle-wheel-and-string gang – and when he does it for charity, he even persuades Michael Schumacher to come out and play. Now McLaren tell us that Lewis Hamilton is the latest kart club member, giving up his MP4-24 for the chance to return to his boyhood roots. OK, this was in an ambassadorial capacity – but they all make some excuse, don’t they?
- Ever fancied attending an F1 car auction? If so, here’s an evocative piece from the Manchester Evening News: “What initially sounds like the car being dropped rudely from the back of its transporter is actually only the opening bar of a guttural rumble which won’t subside until the Viper is parked up and men with cloths start giving it the once over. If it seems a little out of place in a back street warehouse in Ashton under Lyne, then it is. This is a place where washing machines and three piece suites more often go under the hammer. But the Viper (estimated sale price £90,000) is in good company, flanked by a whole host of rare rally and race cars of the type often seen flanked by glamorous trackside pit-lane girls and millionaires.” Recommended – read the full piece here.
- And finally… thanks to Keith Collantine of F1 Fanatic and his links roundup for putting us in the way of this week’s top car pr0n – and what a beauty it is. The new McLaren road car is a snip (in supercar terms) at £80,000 and it’s a real looker too (at least, in silver, rather than that rather alarming orange). The only downside? We might have to wait until 2012 to get our hands on it. Put our names down. We’re sure we’ll have made our fortunes by then…