F1 citizenry…. they’re a baffling lot.
Just when you think you’ve got a handle on them and know what they are going to say and do, they do or say something completely discombobulating. (That means confusing to those of you not well versed in the eloquent tongues of Ron Dennis).
Take the well-oiled slick corporate PR machine that is Ferrari for example. Living in their ‘circle of fear’ too frightened to actually talk to each other or anyone else lest any little detail slips out to the world outside and gives their competitors a hint of what they are up to (and that’s just over the lunchtime catering menu). Any communication with the world at large usually comes through an official announcement two days after the event and after everyone in Maranello has umm-ed, ahhh-ed and pondered over the wording, had a cappuchino or three, pondered some more…and then your lucky if it comes at all.
So you would think that when their drivers are expected to talk to the media, say over how winter testing has gone…a liberal amount of masking tape would come into play. Luca Colajanni would pop up like Zebedee from the Magic Roundabout issue his official pearls of wisdom and disappear again…as if by magic.
But it would seem not.
While Kimi Raikonnen has been sticking like glue to the official line, smiling until his face hurts and giving cryptic non-committal answers to just about everything, Felipe Massa (supposedly the quiet one) has been blabbing his little socks off merrily all winter to any journalist within earshot…whether they want to hear it or not. Mark Webber must be eyeing the amount of headlines Massa is racking up quite jealously.
Luca Colajanni and Zebedee never seen in the same room at the same time, curious!
This week after the final day’s testing had taken place at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain, both Ferrari drivers were asked separately by journalists whether they thought Ferrari had an advantage over their rivals going into the opening Grand Prix at Albert Park in Australia in two week’s time.
“I think the new car is very good,” said Raikkonen at the end of testing in Bahrain. “It seems to look OK here at least. It is difficult to say what the others are doing so we have to wait and see in Melbourne.
“We are happy with the way the car works. Like I said before, hopefully it is quick enough. We are very positive. We just have to wait for the first race to see where we are, but so far we are happy with what has been happening. Let’s wait and see.
“With the new package it was very positive. Generally we are happy with how things work, so that is the main thing,” added Raikkonen. (Note how many times he mentioned being happy, lest Stefano Domenicali was in earshot).
Meanwhile Massa was singing like a canary,
“For sure. It’s difficult to speak for them but at the moment it looks like we are quite strong with a good package. Hopefully it will stay like this.
“We’ve made a big step forward in terms of set up work and aerodynamics. I think if you compare the first day in Bahrain and the end of the second week we’ve done a very good job and improved the car a lot – especially with the new aerodynamic package, which we understand how to work better on the tyres.
“I have to say I’m really happy and optimistic. I’m ready for the first race.”
“At Ferrari, we have two strong drivers who will be fighting at the front. But maybe there are other surprises.”
So while young Felipe has us wondering if he is going to get his hand slapped sooner or later, and got us salivating at the thought of what these other surprises might be…. (I’m hoping for a 599 GTB personally, or failing that for Ron Dennis to be sent into outer space.) Kimi is becoming week on week, more and more a model Ferrari employee…. He hasn’t once mentioned an excursion to the bathroom this season…. I’m beginning to think he has been completely brainwashed or at least discombobulated.