Jeremy Clarkson has attacked Brits over the way they react to supercars, calling them, “mealy-mouthed, bitter and racked with hate”.
Speaking in his weekly column in the Sunday Times, 56-year-old Clarkson said supercars like a Ferrari are admired in other countries, except in old Blighty where jealousy and insecurity is rife.
“If I drive a normal car to work, I pull up to the junction at the end of my street, and people let me into the slow-moving crawl on the main road. But when I’m in a Ferrari, they don’t,” he said in his review of the Ferrari 488 GTB.
He added: “In Britain, Mr Normal sees a Ferrari as a reminder that his life hasn’t worked out quite as well as he had hoped. And he sees its driver as a living embodiment of the good-looking kid at school who got the girls, and the sixth-former who nicked his packed lunch on a field trip.
“He believes that if he can inconvenience a Ferrari driver, just for a moment, it’s one in the eye for the rich and the privileged. It’s ‘score one’ for the little man.
“A Ferrari in America is a spur, a reminder that you need to get up earlier in the morning and try harder. In Italy it’s a thing of beauty to be admired. Elsewhere it’s a dream made real.”
He went on to say cyclists react more strongly than other motorists. “They see all car drivers as an unholy cross between Margaret Thatcher and Hitler, so they spit and they yell and they put footage of you on their bicycling websites when they get home.
“If, however, you are in a Ferrari, they go berserk because now you are an ambassador for the devil himself. You used child labour to make your money. You were responsible for Bhopal. You may even be a Tory. So it is their duty as a comrade to bang on your roof and scream obscenities.”
Clarkson never saw his contract renewed after punching producer Oison Tymon, which lead to the departure of all three hosts and executive producer Andy Wilman, with whom Clarkson worked to turn the show into a global powerhouse adored the world over.
Since then, the BBC has been working on a revamped Top Gear headed-up by Radio 2 and TFI Friday presenter Chris Evans, which is due to air in May 2016. It also recently announced a spin-off show called Extra Gear that will be hosted by newbie presenter Rory Reid.
While Clarkson was known for getting his way, Evans is said to be as fiery. An insider allegedly told the Sun newspaper that Evans was “out of control”, “more volatile” and that his Radio 2 backroom team are “increasingly concerned about his outbursts and diva-style behaviour”.
The BBC hit back at the claims, calling the Sun’s reports “unfounded nonsense” and that Evans is “a huge asset to the BBC”.
Clarkson and his team have been busy filming the new show, which is still nameless and will air in the Autumn of 2016. He was papped driving a bizarre Mercedes and the most recent Amazon advert shows him, Hammond and May brainstorming the motoring show’s name without success.
In one of his last articles, Clarkson questioned why anyone would ever buy a car with a manual gearbox.