Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Frankly Frankl - Book Signing at the Book Passage - Frankly Frankl-life, luck, love and automobiles

 I gave a talk at Marin County’s world famous store-Book Passage- on Sunday. Somewhat overawed by the list of previous speakers which include everybody from President Obama to Cindy Crawford. Politicians, chefs, famous authors and yours sincerely. But what none of them had were three shiny Ferraris right by the entrance. In fact I didn’t have to say anything, the cars-a red 458 spider, a white 308 and an off white (I think) brand new California were getting a huge amount of attention in a place more use to talk about the past, the future , gluten free food, how to grow broccoli and all that. So any talk about cars that do 200 miles per hour could have been problematical but the good folks at Book Passage thought it would make a change. I am told that it certainly did!

In the meantime-early Monday morning came the bombshell that my very good friend Stefano Domenicali had resigned with immediate effect. I can’t say I am surprised because the team has been  in the doldrums. Having a top speed two seconds less than  Mercedes is simply not acceptable and no amount of skill on the part of two World Champions can do anything about it.

Frankly I have always felt that Stefano was just too nice, too decent for the shark-infested waters of Formula One.

The new man is a puzzle for those close to F1 but it isn’t  for those of us living in the United States. Marco Mattiacchi was, until this morning CEO of Ferrari North America. He is very nice, well-educated man who is being taken from the comfort of a beautiful apartment in Manhattan to the rough and ready stuff Formula One is made of. I don’t envy his position. As a marketing wiz maybe he will do a caretaker job until someone like Ross Brawn becomes available. Until President Montezemolo summoned him Marco had one of the best jobs in the World. How many bosses can claim long waiting lists for their products with their huge deposits firmly in the bank? Or make a fortune on overnight bags. Would you believe that the new one which will be launched with LaFerrari sells for over 3000 dollars?

Insane. Whatever happens I am afraid it will take a miracle to turn the team’s fortunes round, to make up a two seconds difference. In F1 terms that is an eternity. Clearly there is something wrong with the aerodynamics and the engine seems to be down on power as well.

So good luck Marco, you will certainly need it.

Finally coming back to Sunday’s event at Book Passage reminds me that I have two more engagements coming up in the near future. The good folks running the book shop at Sonoma Raceway have asked me to do book signings on the Saturday and the Sunday of the Ferrari challenge meeting-26th and 27th of April. With just over 120 copies left of the total print run of 499 you might like to get your copy now.