Hinwil, Friday: Police forces in the Swiss canton of Zurich have begun a formal investigation into the BMW Formula One team’s headquarters today, after reports of an outbreak of “humour” in the factory.
Reports suggest that office staff in the facility were using their computers to share comedic websites when they should have been working, including a motorsports blog billed as being “Genauer als Planet-F1.”
An unnamed whistleblower within the company alerted authorities last week when he heard noises that sounded “suspiciously similar to laughter” emanating from the Human Resources office. Further investigation determined that staff had been “unreasonably amused” by Internet material “undoubtedly intended for the purposes of humour and satire.”
Humour has been illegal in Switzerland since 1998, when a man in Grindelwald laughed surprisingly loudly at an episode of Freunden on the television. The sound of his merriment triggered an avalanche, which buried a small village.
“We take these allegations extremely seriously,” one Zurich police spokesman told the media. “Not only did the tragic and unnecessary events of 1998 show how dangerous humour can be, in these times of economic hardship it is doubly damaging as it contributes significantly towards inefficiency. Given how BMW Sauber are performing at the moment, you’d think they’d be working twice as hard.”
Nationalist groups within Switzerland have already called for the confederation to withdraw from the Schengen Treaty, which allows passport-free travel between European countries, after allegations that “mischievous Germans” from the Bavarian contingent of BMW could have been taking advantage of relaxed border checks by smuggling jokes into the country.
Attempting to import humour into Switzerland can carry a maximum of ten years’ furrowed brows and condescending looks from strangers, whereas actually using humorous material within the country is punished with a stern talking-to and a polite request not to commit the offence again.
BMW boss Mario Thiessen admitted that he found the case “quite amusing,” before hastily requesting that reporters “don’t tell the Swiss I said that.”