On Tuesday March 17, 1987 I was among eight members of the British media flown to Italy by the FIA to witness the signing of the latest Concorde Agreement. It turned out to be a long way to go for lunch.
The news value extracted from the day was zero. But as an indicator of the latest state of Formula 1 politics intermingled with Latin chaos, it was priceless. By eschewing the grand surroundings of its headquarters in Place de la Concorde and choosing Maranello, the sport’s governing body was not only paying deference to Enzo Ferrari’s 90th year but also the fact that, as ever, the Old Man was quietly calling the shots.
The culinary logic of using the Cavallino restaurant, opposite the main gates of the Ferrari factory, was immediately lost as 200 journalists and cameramen were crammed into an L-shaped room designed to hold 60 diners. Several of the ‘guests’ appeared to be without a valid invitation; a shortcoming elsewhere but, in Italy, an invisible order of merit.