The 'phone rang in my office mid-morning last Saturday. “Alan?” said a cheerful voice. “How are you?” It took a second or so for the penny to drop; on the other end was FIA president Max Mosley.

Warning klaxons started resonating through my brain. Was I due a formal dressing down for something I’d written? Was I about to be told that my FIA credential for the 2008 F1 world championship was being deactivated as we spoke? Not at all, it transpired; Max (left) was simply ringing for a pleasant weekend chat. 

Charmingly we skimmed the surface of various F1 issues of the day in the most general of terms. There was no subtext to his call; no subliminal message I should have picked up. As far as I could discern, Mr Mosley really was just calling to shoot the breeze. And I was genuinely impressed (as I hope the rest of you are reading this) that old Max had the time to chat, to be honest: you’d have thought that the head of the FIA has too much on his plate at the moment for that sort of thing.