Monday, January 30, 2012

How to Woo Adrian Newey

Luca di Montezemolo recently stated in the Italian newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport that he didn’t think there was much hope of ever coaxing Red Bull’s famous technical director Adrian Newey to Maranello because the Englishman’s wife views Italy as a third world country. Having been here for half a year, I have to say that overall my standard of living has remained unchanged and even improved because of the country’s wonderful fresh food and relaxed atmosphere. In fact if the Neweys did decide to move here it would be hard for them not to fall in love with this charming country. There is, however, one thing about Italy that can give tourists the wrong impression. I am of course talking about the Italian version of toilets. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of using a traditional Italian toilet, they are glorified holes in the ground with a little bit of privacy. Perhaps the oddest thing about these toilets, and I use the term loosely, is that they are often surrounded by a kind of ribbed porcelain ring. Presumably the ribbing is to prevent the unlucky user from falling over while undertaking the tricky task of balancing and doing their business at the same time. Still, even with this apparent upgrade, the whole experience is both awkward and uncomfortable.

You would think that such a thing would be confined to impoverished farms and the history books, but the cringe-worthy commodes are in fact scattered amongst restaurants, bars and businesses throughout the country. Even more shocking still is that they can also appear in modern venues, thus taking the unsuspecting foreign patron by surprise in their moment of need.

My first encounter with one of these medieval waste receptacles was in 2004 while on my very first Ferrari pilgrimage. I was staying in Forli, where Enzo Ferrari’s mother was originally from, and took a train to Imola for the day. Although there was no track action on that particular visit, I enjoyed every moment exploring the, track, grandstands and walking through the surrounding park. Don’t worry if you are yourself contemplating a visit to Imola and would like to know more. I will include a detailed description of the track on another day. Something just seems inappropriate about mentioning toilets and the emotions of Imola in the same breath!

After spending several hours at the circuit and a brief amount of time looking around the Autodromo Dino Ferrari’s gift shop I decided to head back to Forli. Throughout the day I had barely stopped for a drink of water and I was thus bursting to use the facilities. Thankfully a local bar near the train station was open and when the barrista directed me towards the restroom door, I began to relax. I’m sure that you can guess what horror awaited me on the other side of the door. It was a minor glitch in an otherwise fantastic day and yet whenever I tell the tale of my trip to Imola I always include something about the hole, much to everyone’s amusement.

Perhaps Mrs. Newey also ventured over to Italy as a young woman before the Italians began installing the porcelain ribbing for traction. Maybe after a marvellous day spent site seeing and indulging in Italian cuisine, she took a tumble, forcing her to ruin her new designer shoes. We may never know the true cause of her rumoured prejudice against Italy and yet one thing is certain; if Ferrari are indeed serious about obtaining the services of a man who seems to have perfected the winning formula, they had better ensure that both him and his entourage always have proper seats for their behinds!


  1. We dont want or need a.newey at Ferrari, and frankly mrs.n, *she* [it] can place her head in the said hole!
    As a patriot ANY person shitting on Italy in my view should be banned from entering into Italy for life, turned around at customs-border and sent packing home!
    Rant Over
    PS/ I found Italian toilets ok, in fact i remeber seeing many with bidet and wash facility for your down-under region! :-)

  2. This is also prevalent in Japan. Found it quite ergonomic :)