If we cast Bernie as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Inaction as the Ghost of Christmas Present, who is going to be cast as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?
And will that Ghost push Scrooge McChase into fine new behaviours or, like Marley's Ghost, will the chains of the past pull him under to eternal unrest? For some, that question is going to be far more relevant than others. Let me explain...
As the snow falls and Tiny Tim asks Santa for Human Growth Hormone, the family fun of arguing over budget caps has not been lost on Scrooge McChase. He and kind old uncle Toto had been talking in hushed tones around the crackling fire, when that old grouch Sergio shouts from the roof tops that it is never the season to slash budgets.
Yet none of our characters from this Christmas Carol has acknowledged that the elephant in the room, as kind Uncle Toto has called it, has a name.
And that name is not Budget Cut, or Cost Cap.
Now I'm sure that the net worth of both kind Uncle Toto, and Scrooge McChase are far short of Rupert Murdoch's or King Bernie, yet I'm also sure that just like Lewis Hamilton, both can afford to purchase Big Boy Toys whereby having an army of international tax accountants happily pays for itself each year.
Yet when he, Toto, Christian, Sergio and the gang swap cheery banter over mulled wine and crackling flames about budget caps no one acknowledges the true name of the elephant in the room (Gold Star to Toto for at least pointing out the elephant was at the party).
The actual material costs of Formula One are not that immense. I'm sure Lewis could cover the annual carbon fibre budget for all the teams and not notice the balance decrease in his online saver account.
Manufacturing costs would be a tad higher, as they are complex processes with minimal economy of scale. Yet still they would be manageable if Lewis and the boys had a whip-round after the next GPDA Bridge Night.
No, the big, huge, massive, cost driver is... resourcing costs.
And resourcing costs is a nice way of saying... people.
You know, people not like Lewis or Chase, but people like you and me. People who usually need a job to cover the mortgage, not because they are driven by an inner passion and gifts from God.
People like those that had their lunch taken from them at Manor.
People like those that got crushed in the Global Finance Crisis that saw banks bailed out by tax payers (that's you and me, and Lewis) and bankers taking a financial hair cut by manfully dropping bonuses from the likes of $20,000,000 a year to a totally supportable (with tax payer dollars) $10,000,000. Poor lambs! They were complete businessmen. Or 'Total Bankers' as we often call them - though I'm sure Editor Balfe will correct me if I've misheard that. (Merchant Bankers is the term you're looking for - Ed)
Sorry, back to my point...
Force India and Haas run slim, efficient and professional, racing teams on around 400 people.
Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, Renault, and McLaren all run massive racing organisations around the 1,500 person mark. Not staffing resources. People. Real people. Skilled people. Mortgaged people. Darn hardworking, rearing kids, loving my work, but I need the money, people.
Ferrari claims a total of 3,115 staff as of December 2017. The great man said this about organisations; "I believe factories are made of machines, walls, and people. Ferrari is made most of all by people." Enzo knew people made the final difference.
So if those five giants of the sport are forced to a budget cap it will not be carbon fibre or computer controlled milling machines that feel the hit. It will be people.
So let us assume our Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, sees Scrooge McChase pushing through his budget cap. He is an American aiding an American team (Haas being much smaller than the big five, would gain under a budget cap) and as a result this decision will not hurt American jobs, so no bad press at home. No, most of the staffing cuts forced by a budget cap will be in the UK, and then mainland Europe. And as Scrooge is levelling the F1 playing field for the fans he will be pumping the positive press as hard as the Ghost of the Future will let him.
Potentially, based on my numbers estimate above, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is going to see in excess of 5,000 highly skilled people out of a job, and out in the cold Winter snow. That's a big number; 5,000 people, many with kids and partners, many with mortgages, all with dreams for the future. All out in the snow while Scrooge and his cronies continue with their festive rounds of private island hopping and attending parties thrown by their international tax accountants.
5,000 people, not even counting suppliers cut out of the loop, and the knock-on impact of 5,000 well paid people no longer nipping to the local pub or buying cars, loaves of bread, or private educations for their kids. That's a huge impact.
Now Sergio and the gang are not complaining about the issue in these terms, because as business men they know staff cuts are part of the strategic business cycle, and they do not want to give labour unions a bullet now with which to shoot them later. Hence caution in their language.
But the leaders of the big five teams have been visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. They have all seen the human side of the future. Sure, they might be personally concerned about loss of income and perceived power, but they all know one thing for certain, the Ghost has shown them that budget cuts, and cost caps, mean staff cuts. If Scrooge McChase gets his way, it will be massive staff cuts.
While he is probably sick of visits from the Ghost of Christmas Past (Bernie), McChase had better be aware that 5,000 Marley's Ghosts are going to be chasing him in one possible future. While they will be thanking him in an alternate future.
So as festive music rings in his ears this Christmas, and the Ghost of Christmas Present is as silent as the night, I hope Scrooge McChase has the inner wisdom, and peace of heart, to listen to the right Ghosts in order to avoid the screaming of a Crisis Carol in the long dark winters that might be ahead if the warnings go unheeded.
And you, dear reader, as the frost lays deep and crisp and even, remember that in all this talk of elephants and money, what those dear old men gathered around the crackling fire are really talking about is the cold hard cash for salaries, which is the human face of this, or any other, Christmas.
It will be those "boys and girls back at the factory" that feel the slash of the budget cut knife, not the hero standing on the podium, or Scrooge McChase.
Merry Christmas Mister Scrooge.
Learn more about Max and check out his previous features, here