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We've all done it...
You're going out with a new partner, when suddenly, foolishly, you call them by the wrong name... your old partner's name.
There follows an awkward silence, a nervous laugh as you attempt to carry on, in the hope that no (lasting) damage has been done.
On Friday it happened, indeed it happened twice.
Asked how he was coping following the loss of Fernando Alonso to McLaren, a move he still insists caught him totally by surprise, but many F1 insiders still doubt, Flavio Briatore replied: "If you're missing somebody important in the team it's lost, you know? Like in any company, any time you are missing a good player in the company you are missing something, this is sure, but we need to understand as well that the team is strong, the people are the same and they are working with Giancarlo and Heikki to be doing our best."
So far, so good.
"Last year we spent every moment, to the last second, to develop the 2006 car to fight with Ferrari for the championship," he continued. "Now we are a little bit late, we know that, and we need to recover quickly. We have everything to get back on top. We have the people, the finance, the drivers, everything.
"You turn the page and you try to do the best you can, and at this moment everybody is motivated to give the best to... Fernando and Heikki..."
The Italian quickly corrected himself; "I mean Giancarlo...
"I'm sorry," he quickly added, and for a moment it was hard to tell where the permatan ended and the flush of embarrassment began.
"I'm sorry," he said again.
A few feet away Giancarlo Fisichella shifted nervously.
Moments later, Jean Todt was asked to clarify the situation regarding Kimi Raikkonen's engine. Dismissing much of the recent speculation regarding a possible change as media mischief, the Frenchman replied: "We are going to keep both engines we had in Australia for Malaysia. It's as simple as that.
Once again, so far, so good.
"The whole rumour started from speculation," he continued. "It is true to say that at the end of the Australian Grand Prix, on the last laps, Michael..."
The same reddening, the same uneasy shifting in the seat, the same worried look from the driver - in this case Kimi Raikkonen - sitting a few inches away.
"You see, I am not the only one!" jokes Briatore, thankful that he is not alone in making such a mistake.
Like we said... faux pas or wishful thinking?
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