2017-02-05 05:41:43 UTC
There are lots of pieces at the moment that trace an arc of Bernie's career. But it seems to me that none of the really capture the man himself - and often offer a one-dimensional portrayal of him as a relentless money grabber.
Now of course Bernie saw nothing wrong with wealth, and he set out to acquire wealth. But something occurred to me - that at some point Bernie got bitten by the motor racing bug. He originally got into motor racing because he loved it.
"There was the usual traffic jam on the approach to [Silverstone] so we were delayed getting in. After parking the car, I heard an unfamiliar sound and got to the fence just in time to see the Formula Junior race come under the Dailly Express Bridget and around Woodcote, then a long, sweeping corner. It was an extraordinary moment. I knew instantly this was something I absolutely had to do."
That's Bernie's old pal, Max Mosley, describing the moment he saw his first race and then fell in love with Motorsport in 1961. Bernie must have had a similar moment, albeit earlier.
He raced in the early 50s, then withdrew to concentrate on his business career. But he couldn't stay away. He managed Stuart Lewis-Evans, he bought two Connaught cars and famously drove one of them in qualifying at Monaco. He walked away again after Lewis-Evans died, but then made another comeback to the racing scene as Jochen Rindt's manager. Rindt also died - Bernie knows the horrors of motor sport - but Bernie bought the Brabham team from Ron Tauranac.
All these facts are noted in the various histories, but what isn't, and what probably will never be now, is the reason for Bernie getting involved in racing in the first place. At some place and time Bernie must have had a moment like Mosley's, when he saw racing cars in action and thought "I want to do that." We'll never know the details, but it must surely have happened. Bernie originally got into racing because he was drawn to it by something other than just the money he could make. Somewhere under the layers of artifice and evasion that Bernie has put in place, is somebody who was compelled to go racing.