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GP Week : Issue 132
We learn things about the track, the organization and about ourselves. We are always trying to improve and we ask the tracks to make improvements that are not too demanding; but there are often things that we believe should be done for next year. Do you like the fact that everyone calls you by your first name? I think in F1 everyone is called by their first name. It’s always been like that. I don’t know what to say really. For example ‘Bernie’ is ‘Bernie’. Only people who don’t know him and who fear him call him Mr Ecclestone. I think that names like ‘Herbie’ and ‘Bernie’ are names that ever yone knows. I’m sure this is not unique to motor racing . From 1988 onwards you attended all the drivers’ briefings. Do you see any difference between the drivers of 20 years ago and today? Are drivers more serious about safety and taking orders from the FIA? Drivers are far more responsible. They are concerned about matters of safety. They know much more about safety, but that’s what the world is like now. Look at road cars. Things we did back in the late 80’s aren’t done now. I think they are very responsible and they are all tr ying to give us input to make cars safer, driving safer and tracks safer. We do have regular meetings with the GPDA. We can’t do everything they want, but we always endeavour to take their views into account. Going back to the drivers from the early years, my recollection is that it was more like an opportunity to give the drivers instructions. Nowadays, it’s more like a meeting, a discussion, in order to share views. I believe that it has worked. It’s more informal and we seldom have any stand-up shouting matches, which used to happen with one of our previous Presidents! Sometimes the race director would start shouting at drivers, but that doesn’t happen anymore. How do you like to spend your time off? I don’t have much free time Do teams call you at all hours? Continually! Has it crossed your mind to switch off your mobile? Hmmm ... yes, I do switch it off sometimes at night! On a serious note, everyone needs to take a break every now and then. I take weekends off when I can. But when I’m trying to keep up with all of the work, it’s not simple to have a family life. I’ve got a family, I have a wife and two young children and I try to spend as much time with them as I can. But it is quite difficult sometimes. Are you able to forget about the pressure of work when you’re home? I think so. I think I’m okay when I get home. Obviously, when I’m at home I check my emails at night before I go to bed to make sure that nothing terrible is happening somewhere. So you are not a workaholic? Most people think I am, but I don’t. I just enjoy my work. I try very studiously to make sure that I do spend time with my family. If I have a weekend off, I have a weekend off. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t turn on my computer. I seldom have my phone on at weekends; that’s too much, but if someone wants to contact me urgently they know that I always look at my emails. A young Charlie listens to Andrea de Cesaris during his Brabham days