flavio.jpgGiancarlo Fisichella is very optimistic. “I do not believe we are the fourth power on the grid” he says, “We are the world champions”. Erm…well yes, they do happen to be the defending constructor world champions currently, but if I were Fisi, I would refrain from rubbing it in lest it sets off Flavio again. And we all know Flavio is like an uncontrolled fusion reaction – impossible to stop once he gets going. Last time, it is rumored Pat Symonds had to throw Flavio to the ground, sit on him and clamp his mouth firmly, and it still took about an hour for the rant to finally stop – next time they might not be so lucky. If Fisi is referring to being world champions again this year….well, what can we say, except that we hope Fisi enjoys his stay in la-la land. For Heikki though, it is all unfolding to be a dreary nightmare, that we are confident he will wake up from shortly as he appears to be a talented chap. Flavio apparently took Heikki away for a private telling-off apart from the ‘encouraging’ comments that were made on TV, and when all the noise finally ceased and plaster stopped falling off the ceiling, Heikki was mildly aware of a floating sensation and a sharp pain in his left ear – like a boiler had just burst in the immediate vicinity. “Let us just say there was very little praise” says Heikki, ever the master of understatement, “Flavio was angry”. Thankfully he took fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen’s advice and had liberal wads of cotton stuffed in his ears, so the damage will not be permanent, and the good news is that the ringing noise in his ears will most likely fade away before the next grand prix. The cotton-plugs-idea was apparently what Kimi had used to good effect during his McLaren days, especially when news of his party indiscretions leaked out in the press and Ron Dennis wanted to have a quiet word.

Ralf Schumacher has urged the Toyota fans to be patient, pointing out that there is no substitute for experience and that they are a relatively new team…, and that should be easy as I imagine one should anyway be an exceedingly patient character to be a Toyota fan in the first place. There are some who might wonder if Toyota really has any fans outside their employee base, but a quick search on the internet reveals that the team indeed does. There are some others who wonder why, of all the teams one could possibly support in F1, would one willingly choose Toyota…and to this, I have to admit I am stumped for an answer, but I am sure there are perfectly logical and valid answers. I have always been quite fond of the Toyota team myself (Yes, I am just being nice and don’t mean a word of it).

If you were wondering whatever happened to the charity football match that Schumi was scheduled to play with Zidane, Ronaldo and Co., it turns out that he contracted a cold and skipped the event (I bet he was just busy with all the relocation). When Michael was last asked which position he used to play in while at school, his reply was “the coaches always used to position me in the substitute bench, and for a very good reason”. So one assumes his absence didn’t affect his team too much. Incidentally Schumi has also been voted as the most popular Ferrari driver of all time in a poll conducted by Italian daily ‘Gazzetta dello sport’, with 49% of the 17,000 readers voting for the 7 times world champion. Giles Villeneuve came in second with 22% of the votes. Niki Lauda could snare just 3.8% and that would probably increase if he stopped predicting doom for the Scuderia Ferrari team, for there is no doubt he was a great driver. Forza Ferrari.