The Lighter Side of Owning a Ferrari


The Rules Committee - by john babos


Through a strange turn of events I got involved with a local Formula 1 betting league a while back.  What started as a simple bet that Michael Schumacher of Ferrari would beat Mika Häkkinen of McLaren escalated to a set of rules which eventually became more complex than the thousands of articles that actually govern Formula 1 racing.  

As the Ferrari vs. McLaren bets became public knowledge, closet Formula 1 fans came out of the woodwork to participate in the betting game. Because of ownership and egos, I got Ferrari. Roger took McLaren/Mercedes. His father’s from New Zealand and his mother is German. Tim got BAR/Honda. Tim drives a Civic. Jim Williams - you guessed it - got Williams. And everyone else got whomever, based upon some esoteric relationship they were able to derive. The team with the most points would win, pretty simple. As many of you who follow Formula 1  have probably guessed, I cleaned up in the year 2000.  Then in 2001 I did even better.  However, between 2001 and this season a rules committee evolved.  By coincidence, I am the only player who was not invited to become a  member of the ‘rules committee’. The ‘rules committee’ was a group of devious dumpster diving malcontents that would stop at nothing to see me lose.  I often thought they met at sunset. Wearing black robes and chanting they would sacrifice small animals to their cause, the demise of my Ferrari winnings.  They would do this by modifying rules prior to each race. On their first attempt, every member of the ‘rules committee’ got to pick a second, not previously selected team.  The two team’s total points would be added, hopefully surpassing Ferrari’s points and leaving me as the loser. What were they thinking? I won. For the second race, members of the ‘rules committee’  met secretly again, sacrificed who knows what, then decided to pick teams that might gain pole position for the race which would give them arbitrary additive points. I won again.

The ‘rules committee’ was cunning and ruthless.  I never knew when or where they met.  The ‘rules committee’   would appear out of nowhere at my office door acting very smug with their new scheme. They would address me only when they were in full attendance, which was the Thursday before the race. That short notice gave me precious little time to argue the new rules or ponder my fate.

  The ‘rules committee’  eventually decided that I should be allowed to have a second team that they would assign to me.  Points would be deducted based upon that second team’s finishing position. i.e., if a Ferrari wins, 10 points.  If the second team I was assigned  finished 21st, 21 points would be deducted from the winning 10, leaving me with minus 11 points for the race. Can’t tell you how or why but I still won. Maybe because Ferrari is such a strong team and the second team did well.

As the 2002 season wears on, Ferrari is dominating almost every race and I continue to win in spite of the vague and corrupt rules generated by the ‘rules committee.’   The ‘rules committee’  met again prior to the French Grand Prix which is held at Magny-Cours. They adopted a new set of rules or in this case a rule.  If Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher clinches the world championship, they quit. 

As you may know, Schumacher of Ferrari won again and the ‘rules committee’ is gone, kaput, finished, they quit. I’m 25 Pepsi’s ahead in my winnings and no one to play with for the rest of the season.  By the way, their black robes which I learned were really witches blue, appeared on Ebay with no bidders.

-- john babos --