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…
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