Journalists and opinion-formers reacted with outrage this week as it emerged that a Formula One racing driver did not enjoy driving slowly on public roads.
When Fernando Alonso, Ferrari driver and two-time world champion, was asked his opinion on the decision of his home country, Spain, to restrict their national speed limit to 110 kilometres an hour, reporters were astounded to hear the driver state that “it is even difficult to stay awake” when driving at such a low speed.
Alonso opined that the measure, designed to cut fuel consumption at a time of high oil prices in the cash-strapped European state, was ineffective and would reduce his enjoyment of driving in his home land.
“This limit will add 30 minutes to my daily commute,” Alonso said. “Or at least, it would if I didn’t live in Switzerland. And travel everywhere by helicopter. But you know what I mean.”
Alonso’s statements, published in Spanish tabloid Corazon de Cojones, immediately attracted scorn from the usual sources. “This is a totally reckless and irresponsible thing to say,” said Arthur Gnomely, Internet user. “It is simply beyond belief that a professional Formula One driver could even think about not enjoying driving at the leisurely speed currently mandated by the government of Spain. Who does he think he is – Stirling Moss?”
Revelations about Alonso have hit the headlines again this week, with allegations of blackmail and sabotage levelled against him in Tom Bower’s biography of Bernie Ecclestone, which has already risen to the top of the best-seller lists in the History (Revisionist) subsection of online bookstore Amazon.com.