December 2006


partymaranello.jpgFIAT President Luca Di Montezemolo and Ferrari CEO Jean Todt requested Fake Ferrari News Agency (FFNA) to pass on their new year greetings to the tifosi community and promised a succesful year from Ferrari this time around with hopes of clinching both championships. The Ferrari F1 team members along with their families gathered in full force at Maranello for the customary end-of-year party. However there was a small security scare as Todt, recently given the title of Datuk in Malaysia, arrived with the headgear et al and was nabbed by an over-zealous security guard who failed to recognize him in his new costume.

Michael Schumacher (Former Ferrari driver…in case you are from a different planet and didn’t know) arrived at the party from Switzerland with Corrina and his children. It is rumored that Michael has been asked by Todt to concentrate solely on Mick Schumacher (his son) as part of his job in Ferrari’s young driver development program. An insider revealed that Mick(who is six years old) is already a better driver than Ralf Schumacher, but Michael is not getting carried away as this doesn’t necessarily mean anything (Who isn’t a better driver than Ralf anyway?)

Other familiar faces at the party included Felipe Massa, a sober Kimi Raikkonen, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Aldo Costa, Stefano Domenicali, Nigel Stepney and Luca Baldisserri.

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lucapitwall.JPGFollowing on from Ross Brawn’s announcement in October 2006 that he would be taking a sabbatical from F1, much eye brow raising has occured with regards the appointment of new technical director Mario Almondo.

Despite having gained an impressive resume during his 15 years at the prestigious marque, questions remain over Mr Almondo’s apparent lack of race weekend experience.

Fans of the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro F1 team are concerned Mr Almondo might have trouble finding his way to the race tracks, let alone pull off wearing an oversized red baby grow all weekend with any kind of panache.

A source within the team who wishes to remain anonymous has been quoted as saying that Mr Almondo was chosen for the role because “he demonstrates an air of authority and has the right qualifications to lead the team into the new era”.

Ferrari were unavailable for comment last night as to why the role had not been given to Brawn’s strategic protegee Luca Baldisserri. Ferrari would also not confirm or deny the rumour that Baldisserri had lost out on the promotion because his hair was too untidy, or because it was impossible to respect anyone as your boss who’s feet could not reach the pit wall floor.

CEO Jean Todt suffice to say was not best impressed when these questions were put to him.

iceman.jpgKimi Raikkonen is beginning to feel the heat just a little bit. Stefano Domenicali recently promised to the world that one of his principal duties as Ferrari’s sporting director will be to ensure that Kimi smiles more next year. Not that Kimi is against the rare smile, but to be perpetually smiling when one is limited to guzzling orange juice when thirsty might just be a shade beyond his fledgling thespian skills (Formula 1 drivers are bad actors, even Michael with all his experience could only manage an unconvincing ‘Oops’ after the Monaco disaster). It is known that he has also been ordered to party discreetly and lay off the booze by Jean Todt, while Luca Di Montezemolo is demanding nothing less than two titles for Ferrari in 2007. Coming on top of old-timers Nigel Stepney and Luca Baldisserri politely expressing their reserves about Kimi’s car development abilities (and wistfully wondering if Michael Schumacher would do the needful), it is reported that Kimi feels like he just got married all over again and now has someone else additionally chipping away trying to mould his character.

“Kimi is at his best when you allow him to break the occasional car, shove the occasional marshal and get drunk to his gills” said a sympathetic insider. It comes as no surprise then that he is already contemplating retirement at the end of his current term for Ferrari.

5991.jpgWhen Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia pilot, made a christmas wish for a brand new Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorana parked in his garage on the official Formula 1 website, it appears Santa’s helpers have been a little amiss in getting the message across correctly. Kimi instead found a Fiat Stilo (Michael Schumacher special edition at that) parked in his garage, and a source close to Kimi reveals he is not very pleased with the development. It is also rumored that the car is the same one Luca Di Montezemolo has been trying to gift Michael the past two years unsuccesfully, and Luca finally gave up and gifted it to the unsuspecting Kimi instead. Michael apparently warned good friend and former teammate Felipe Massa to look out for the possibility and steer clear of it, but forgot to mention the same to Raikkonen. Kimi is still reeling from the nasty shock to his finely tuned aesthetic senses and was not available for comment. He was however overheard telling a friend that he will just wish for socks next christmas.

schumisa.jpgHaving made the announcement that sporting legend Michael Schumacher is indeed going to continue being part of Ferrari in the role of a ‘super-assistant’, Luca Di Montezemolo finds himself besieged by calls from the F1 community on what the heck a ‘super-assistant’ means. It is rumored that the first of these calls came from Schumi himself who was justifiably curious about the particulars. The first order of business for the team in 2007, according to an insider who doesn’t wish to be named (obviously), is to have a brainstorming session to define the role. Michael has also been invited to participate in this session. The key requirements as of now are that it has be a ‘serious’ role (as opposed to a fluff piece just to keep the Schumacher and Ferrari brands in close association) and that it should involve some kind of occasional assistance (owing to the unfortunate semantics of the job title).

Willi Weber, Michael’s manager, revealed that he had vetoed the initial job offer contract that had been drawn up by Ferrari owing to the following clause in fine print.

“The super-assistant, as part of discharging his normal duties (to be defined), will also be required to step into the cockpit and drive a few races if the need arises.”

Michael Schumacher could not be reached for comment.

Neat title, eh? Well, at the offset it is clear that I have an inordinately large amount of time on my hands (what with this being the F1 offseason) and don’t seem to have a very good idea of what to do with it, so why not blog? Moreover Ferrari  is being unusually reticent in the news department, so tired of scouring around for titbits I decided to invent news instead. Can’t be that tough – F1 journos seem to do it all the time – only they actually try to pass it off as authentic insider information. From my reading experience, if you put in a couple of quotes and add ‘Michael Schumacher’ at the end of it, it is bound to catch on. So here goes…