Rumours circulating in the Finnish press this week are suggesting that Kimi Raikkonen’s F2007 suffered a cooling problem during the race at Melbourne which could have increased the risk of damage to the car’s engine. Therefore the Finnish press and fans are already getting in a flap worrying that their hero’s engine will have to be replaced for the race in Sepang and inevitably incur a 10 place penalty demoting the Flying Finn down the grid.

kimikeepsanyeye1.JPGThis engine related rumour might account for why Brazilian team-mate Felipe Massa has been mysteriously smirking a lot all week, feeling very chipper and telling anyone who cares to listen that he is not at all downcast about the gearbox gremlins that put paid to his chances at last week’s season opener in Melbourne. Although given the race pace of Kimi in Australia, he could start from the back in Sepang and probably still end up lapping everyone including his team-mate…so Felipe had better not crack open the champagne just yet.

There has been no confirmation or denial of the rumour from Ferrari’s official spokesman Luca Colajanni, but one suspects he is up to his eyeballs already drafting Kimi’s official comments for the week…. and isn’t really up to reading his Finnish newspaper just yet.

It would seem it wasn’t just Kimi’s engine that was getting a bit overheated in Melbourne, with a few F1 personalities brains getting a bit baked as well (and I’m not just meaning Renault Boss Flavio Briatore). It appears that someone left Niki Lauda out in the sun too long and the resulting heat stroke has left the 3 times world champion making crazy predictions again. This week he has turned his attention away from Ferrari who have been a bit boring and not had any noticeable in-house spats to commentate on, and started focusing on hot-shot of the moment rookie Lewis Hamilton.

According to the Austrian, new boy Lewis Hamilton will sooner or later experience a big crash in his Formula 1 career. Apparently the prophesised accident will happen as a result of lack of experience and Hamilton pushing the car past its limits, according to Niki this is inevitable for all new drivers. One can’t help feeling this latest prophecy is a bit vague and baseless, and is about as useful as stating it might rain at some point but not actually tell us when so we could get our umbrellas out. Not really sure who is more in need of medication, him or us.

smallwhitedot1.jpgMeanwhile over at Bridgestone the pressure is mounting for a change to the identifiable markings on the tyres. These are the markings that the FIA stipulated must be made this year to involve spectators a bit more in the sport, by giving them an insight into tyre strategies used by the F1 teams. After Oz it was obvious that the small white dot that had been introduced as the identifiable marking to denote the softer tyre compound, was tantamount to looking for a needle in a haystack once the F1 cars were no longer stationary. Rumour has it the small 15-year-old on work experience at Bridgestone who had dreamt it up while playing with a bottle of tippex, has been handed a fiver, booted out the back door and told not to return until he is 21.

Renault’s Pat Symonds Chief of Engineering has called the white dot identifier “rubbish” and “pathetic and annoying” and apparently reckons that F1 has made a bit of a laughing stock of itself. (Mind you I think between Renault and Honda and their respective paint jobs they’ve done a good job of that already).

It is believed F1 teams are resisting the call to change to coloured sidewalls of the tyre like those utilised in Champ Cars, for fear it could clash hideously with their sponsors’ liveries, *ahem*. Various alternatives are now being discussed including different coloured writing of the words “Bridgestone” and “Potenza”, or a single white line being painted into the grooves of one of the tyre compounds. However the tyres for the next two races have already been shipped out of Bridgestone so any solution before then will be temporary…. and probably just as amateurish.

Testing resumes tomorrow, so hopefully we will have something more interesting to report to you by then. Ciaooo!

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