Formula 1 Insight

No Concorde Agreement

It was when I came across this article in Planet-F1 that I realized that my quest for interesting F1 news today had failed. That made me turn to the past and previous posts from long ago and I came across a joke that, with a little stretch of the imagination, could be adjusted in its particulars to suit motor sport. The situation is similar, with engineers scratching their heads when confronted with an inexplicable design fault - and so I offer this as my entry for vaguely F1-connected items for today. I suppose we could call it The Concorde Agreement...


It seems that in the early days of testing the new Concorde airliner, the engineers ran into a problem. Every time the plane was put into a dive, the wings would break off. This was disconcerting for the test pilots, who were becoming fed up with the repeated need to bail out, and the engineers were frantic in their efforts to find a solution.

Money was running short and still the wings refused to remain attached to the plane. In desperation, the engineers put a suggestion box on the shop floor and tried all the responses they received but none worked. Finally, at the eleventh hour, they were down to the last suggestion, one so ludicrous it had been dismissed without a thought.

It made no sense at all. The idea was to drill two-inch diameter holes along the complete length of the wing roots. Surely this must weaken the structure, thought the engineers; but desperation makes fools of us all and they decided to give it a try. The holes were drilled and the plane tested.

To everyone’s amazement, it worked. The plane was soon swooping around the skies, doing barrel rolls, vertical dives, anything that was asked of it. So impressed were the engineers by this that they started a search for the genius who had suggested the cure. It turned out to have come from Albert, the plant’s lavatory cleaner. He was called up to the design office and congratulated.

During the course of the celebrations, the chief engineer asked Albert how he’d come up with the idea. The old cleaner answered in his rough cleaner's dialect:

"Well, sor, I been lavatory cleaner at this 'ere plant for nigh on thorty-foive year now. And I tell ee, in orl that toime, I done noticed that toilet paper never do tear along the dotted loine..."

I'm sorry. I'll shut up now.


don't ever shut up. but i think i can put some perspective on the briatore fright. i had much the same reaction when i saw it.
Date Added: 15/08/2008

Alianora La Canta
I first heard that anecdote in the learning organisation module, and it's still funny :)
Date Added: 15/08/2008

i swear you already said this on f1-pitlane?

Date Added: 16/08/2008

You're absolutely right, Sidey - sorry about that. I suppose it is only justice on me for digging around in the archives for something repeatable. I had completely forgotten about using the story on F1-Pitlane.
Date Added: 18/08/2008

not a problem. planet f1 will warp even the most respectable of f1 minds :)
Date Added: 18/08/2008

Hah, it is perhaps a measure of my desperation for real news that I used the Planet-F1 link. ;)
Date Added: 18/08/2008

RSS feed icon RSS comments feed

Back to the main blog

Have your say

You may use some HTML in comments. For bold text use <strong></strong> and for italic text use <em></em>. If you know what you're doing feel free to use more complex mark-up but please no deprecated tags, break tags or JavaScript.

Enter the code shown above:

Name *

Comment *

Email *


Copyright disclaimers XHTML 1.0 CCS2 RSS feed Icon