Toyota is in the news again…and no, they didn’t pinch Ferrari’s design blueprints this time. They have recently stated that they are going to “turn their focus to performance” – which is a little odd really if you think about it, makes you wonder what they have been focussing on all along. The team is the highest spender in Formula 1 currently, and they unfortunately don’t have much to show for it. They are apparently paying a small fortune to retain the services of Ralf Schumacher…no offense to Ralf but we have always wondered if Toyota were under the impression that they were signing the other Schumacher when they negotiated with Willi Weber. You can almost imagine the rude shock on Tsutomu Tomita’s face when he got around to reading the first name on the signed contract (“You mean we just signed Ralf Schumacher for 20 million dollars a year for five years?!! Not Michael?”). Oh well, ‘Wily’ Webber must have a jolly good laugh about it on his way to the bank to cash his 20%.
STR is coming in for a lot of criticism for the way they announced Scott Speed as their driver – in a press release filled with puns about Scott’s last name. They obviously thought they were being funny (we thought it was funny too), and we really empathize with STR here, but they must remember the paddock is filled with people who can’t understand a good joke, leave alone laugh at it. When Michael Schumacher attempted to induce some humor into the proceedings by parking his car at Monaco last year, it was misunderstood as a deliberate ploy to rob Fernando Alonso of his pole position. And now why would Michael want pole position when he has won most of his races in Monaco from 2nd position on the grid, and has retired almost every time he was on pole? Not even the fact that he was dressed in an orange race suit with huge yellow stars on it could convince the stewards that he was doing it for a laugh. As we said, humorless chappies these. Kimi Raikkonen would agree for sure, considering all the raised eyebrows he caused after his comments on live television in Brazil ’06 (You know to what I ‘allude’, as Mark Blundell would say).
Finally, Super Aguiri are in a bit of trouble…they don’t have a car. Well, they had one, but it failed the crash test, and with accusations that they are going to be running the same car as Honda, they probably thought it wise to let STR deal with all the heat about customer cars right now – safely waiting till Friday practice in Melbourne to launch their car. They will be running their interim car in Bahrain this week though, if it manages to pass the second crash test. Anthony Davidson and Takumo Sato could not be reached for comments.