It’s quiet in the F1 world at the moment, with all the sensible folk being in Barbados – or anywhere it’s not pouring and the wind is not howling.
Alas, I’m not that glamorous. I’m sitting in a stupid queue of traffic in pouring rain in Calais, trying to get on to the train through the Eurotunnel. This is not as easy as it sounds as there are never sufficient people manning (or womanning, come to that) the UK Border Control and so after sailing through the French formalités you move on into a traffic jam and miss your train because a bunch of disinterested civil servants (probably devolved to somewhere near Luton) have not scheduled enough people to be present and the ones who are there either complain about slow computers or they work slowly because they enjoy annoying people. Mind you, there’s not much incentive to improve because the Eurotunnel people are forever cancelling and merging trains so you never get through at the appointed hour, no matter how hard you try. The Channel Tunnel Group Ltd and the Ministry of Silly Works combine to produce a dreadful advert for the UK. Each time I come here I am frustrated and embarrassed and I wonder to myself how it is that the nation that people come to for racing cars can be so useless in other respects.
Still, ever in search of the positive, I guess that the inefficiency is good news for McLaren Advanced Technologies. At some time soon they will be able to go along to the Ministry for Blocking Borders and say: “Guess what, we’re so good at efficiency that by the time we’ve finished with you, you’ll have to change your name”. And so it will become the Ministry of Whizzing Along, “brought to you by McLaren” and it will be staffed by pretty, intelligent, blondes from Surrey, with just the right kind of accent, rather than the grumpy middle-aged civil servants that inhabit’s Britain’s Front Line today.
“Bloody Brits,” said the wife when the train finally pulled away 55 minutes behind schedule.