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There's a part of us that wishes the automotive industry were packed with more eccentric characters like Lapo Elkann. The rakish heir to the Fiat empire (and possible future president of Ferrari) is anything but dull, overdosing on coke and heroin in a transsexual prostitute's apartment one minute and changing the outcome of an NBA basketball game the next.

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Unlike most business deals, which are negotiated behind closed doors with the general populace happily unaware, the effort to buy out the commercial rights to Formula One has been very public.

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It may have seemed far-fetched when the news first broke, and Bernie Ecclestone may think it will never amount to anything, but the reports of a plan to buy-out Formula 1 have proven factual.

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The Elkann brothers are moving in, ladies and gentlemen. First, Luca di Montezemolo handed over the chairmanship of the Fiat group to John Elkann. Now, reports from Italy are indicating that the affable Marquis di Montezemolo could be preparing to abdicate the Ferrari throne in favor of John's rakish younger brother Lapo. (That's Lapo in the picture at right, wearing the blue suit and sneakers, next to his brother John at the Alfa Romeo press conference in Geneva this year.)

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Lapo Elkann's Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano – Click above for image gallery

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