It is always very distressing when a F1 driver begins to act all strange and appears to be distinctly loony, and especially so when the said F1 driver formerly drove for Ferrari and is someone whom you actively supported barely a few years back. Apparently the dotty behavior is not just confined to full moon nights. Rubens Barrichello, former Ferrari driver who currently drives for Honda, is urging Kimi Raikkonen to galvanize the Italian team, though what there is to galvanize about a team that is already so charged up is not known. And you have to admit it is a bit rich coming from someone who is driving an ‘earth’ car and offering stiff competition to the Super Aguiris and STRs of the F1 world. Perhaps he would be better off ‘galvanizing’ his own team instead? We have to remember not to judge him too harshly though, the poor chap is clearly not himself.
But still when Rubens talks about an impending ‘collapse’ and subsequent ‘implosion’, you can’t help but wonder what a cheery and optimistic pair he and Niki Lauda would make. “Ferrari will be competitive for a couple of seasons yet, because they haven’t lost momentum, they still know how to win” says Rubens, and then he predicts it will be the end of the Ferrari as we know it…or something close to it at least. All very intriguing stuff you have to admit. Is there any hope left for us then, Mr. Nostradamus? “Yes, if Kimi goes out and gets a solid grip on the first quarter of the season, he’ll be loved by the Italians, and there’s a whole new world that can be worked without Michael. If not, the pressure will build, big time, and the team could implode”. Oh darn, now it is up to Kimi to save the world then. And that would be the vodka-swishing Karaoke king who spends his spare time racing snowmobiles pretending to be James Hunt. Uh oh.
What convinces us that Rubens is talking through the back of his neck though, is when he suddenly starts to jabber about Ross and Michael and their telephone conversations. “You know, almost like I would call a friend, Michael would call Ross, or Ross would call Michael, and they’d chat about improving the car. When I called Ross, it wasn’t that it went in vain, but he was waiting for somebody else’s call. So those two will be a big loss [to Ferrari]”. We don’t see how ‘those two will be a big loss’ just because Ross always hung up on Barrichello pretending to be waiting for Michael’s call, but oh well.
Then the delusions of grandeur begin. “Could I, on equal terms, be champion against Michael Schumacher? I am pretty sure I could” says Rubens. This is quite hilarious coming from someone who scored about half the number of championship points that his teammate Jenson Button did last season. So what else is it that poor Rubens thinks he can do? “I’ll never be as good as Michael on the out lap” concedes Rubens after a while. We can but nod our heads sympathetically. “Michael didn’t have bad days, and I did have some – I still do, so I have to overcome them” he adds after some more thought. Maybe the insanity doesn’t run as deep as we thought? Sadly Rubens gets all glassy-eyed again – “For Michael it didn’t matter about strategy. He was just going fast, pushing all the time. And why did it work so often? Because he was very good at sorting the car out for himself. He wasn’t a thinker, he wanted to go fast. I thought I could work out the situation a bit better. So there were times when the car wasn’t as good, when I could come out better”. Now let’s see Rubens driving a car stuck in fifth gear to a podium finish then. Unfortunately for him, his theories fall quite flat considering Michael made his name really in the 90s driving cars that were never quite as good but winning 2 championships, and coming close to winning a few more. I fear all this pressure of being referred to as ‘Rubinho the Tortoise’ by his own countrymen has taken its toll.
By the way, here’s a hilarious must-read for the day taken from ITV-F1…James Allen thinks being an espionage agent is to have deeply held beliefs about right and wrong, blowing things up and speaking in many languages while doing it.
I’ve just read Joe Saward’s new book Grand Prix Saboteurs. It’s amazing that two pre-war grand prix stars risked their lives to sabotage the Nazis in France during World War II. Have you read it and which of today’s racing drivers do you think would have the bottle to do what they did?
As for who among the current crop would volunteer to go behind enemy lines if there was a war in a few years time…Raikkonen strikes me as the kind of bloke who lives life on the edge, but I’m not sure he’d care enough about the cause. Webber would get stuck in, no doubt, blowing things up, as would Alex Wurz. I don’t know whether Nico Rosberg is brave enough, but he speaks several languages like a native and would slip easily in and out of places, so I think he’d make a good secret agent. Alonso seems to have deeply held beliefs about right and wrong and is not afraid of anything, so he’d be an obvious candidate.
I don’t know what’s so obvious about Alonso being a candidate, I believe you could get court-martial’ed if you accuse your superiors of assisting the enemy. Though the thought of Webber blowing things up and Rosberg slipping in and out of places speaking several languages is quite an entertaining one. Ciao.