Jacques Villeneuve has been trying to get in the news a bit recently, what with his debut album getting released and all that, and he probably figured attacking all current drivers on the grid ought to do the trick. However with misguided F1 fans being the only likely customers for his album, he is careful not to upset too many demographics – with a few kind words about Button and Massa (neither of whom he has been particularly kind to in the past), and wisely refrains from his favorite pastime of attacking Schumi. Last time he attempted to play Nostradamus and predicted Michael would be forgotten, he couldn’t have been wider off the mark. Michael is still making news even if he is just taking a stroll to the nearby park, with the F1 media wondering collectively if it has something to do with a new role (Schumi to become park ranger? Ferrari to start National Park Service with Schumi in charge?). But JV’s ploy regarding Button seems to have paid off, with the British media already writing favorable reviews for the album reportedly. If only Michael Schumacher had learnt to love Damon Hill, no doubt Jerez 97 would just have been a minor slip of the steering wheel, and Monaco 2006 a regrettable accident that could happen to anyone and hence of no consequence.
If Fernando Alonso is also trying to get the British media on his side, he is certainly going about it the right way. After making a series of unfortunate statements that painted him to be ‘pretty unproffessional’ (as he put it himself) and offering stiff competition to Mark Webber in this department, young Fernando is now apparently seeking to make amends. “I can learn a lot from Lewis Hamilton” he said recently, before adding Hamilton is very quick and will no doubt become a big star. With Hamilton also opining that he can learn a lot from Alonso, it would appear there couldn’t be greater respect and camaraderie in the McLaren camp. An insider reveals that Ron Dennis also tried to get Raikkonen and Montoya do the same routine last season, but it didn’t quite work out.
It is suspected though that this is just the McLaren PR at work in the background pulling the strings – with both drivers also confessing to be fans of Prost and Senna and to have grown up wanting to be like their heroes and drive for McLaren (oddly enough). The small hitch is Alonso admitted a few years back that he had neither watched any F1 nor followed F1 prior to entering the sport. One has to give Ron Dennis credit for trying though…childhood ambition to drive for McLaren indeed…ha!
If you assumed (like we did at FFN) that Michael’s retirement means he is just looking for a bit of peace and quiet with no travelling, you are obviously mistaken. In the last two weeks, Michael has tested karts in Italy, presented trophies at golf tournaments in Dubai, gone on a holiday to Maldives, attended a test session in Barcelona and a photography exhibition opening in Germany. An insider reveals that he is planning to meet up with Ross Brawn for lunch in New Zealand tomorrow, then make a quick trip to China regarding a road safety campaign before flying to USA to meet Ray Evernham and politely decline his kind NASCAR offer -red car notwithstanding. He has informed Jean Todt that he will not be able to make it to the Bahrain test session as he is retired now and doesn’t like travelling.