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Take one 19th-cen­tury Ital­ian villa, add a col­lec­tion of fa­mous F1 cars, a smat­ter­ing of VIPs, a few bot­tles of Martini, and one ice cold Finn. And, ladies and gen­tle­men, Valt­teri Bot­tas will be your bar­man…

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

PHO­TOS The scene could not be more time­lessly Ital­ian – un­less you drove a gon­dola through it. A crisp win­ter af­ter­noon, an or­nate 19th-cen­tury villa out­side Turin and a gen­tle mur­mur of so­phis­ti­cated con­ver­sa­tion, in­ter­rupted only by the oc­ca­sional clack of de­signer heel on par­quet oor and tin­kle of ice as another sump­tu­ous cock­tail is mixed for beau­ti­ful peo­ple bal­anc­ing exquisitely crafted canapés.

Out­side, the dé­cor is slightly more in­con­gru­ous, although just as quintessen­tially Ital­ian. Lined up in a row are some of the most fa­mous For­mula 1 cars from the 1970s – in­clud­ing a Brab­ham BT49 and a Lo­tus 80 for­merly driven by Mario An­dretti – as well as a 1989 Lan­cia Delta In­te­grale rally car.

Be­hind them is a more mod­ern fac­tory, close to which is ca­su­ally parked a beau­ti­fully re­stored Lan­cia Flaminia. And sud­denly, we’re frozen in the pas­telshaded 1950s: the era of Fellini, Agnelli, and the pow­er­house that was once the Ital­ian au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try in its pomp. So many dif­fer­ent decades of style within a short space. What the cars all have in com­mon are dis­tinc­tive stripes, with sub­tly dif­fer­ent grad­u­a­tions and back­ground colours. You have to look hard for them on the road­go­ing Flaminia; they’re in­cor­po­rated into a pe­riod enamel ra­di­a­tor badge. Those stripes say ‘Martini’: a com­pany that’s some­how suc­ceeded in tran­scend­ing the usual cor­po­rate con­straints of motorsport spon­sor­ship

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