massa5.jpgJenson Button is not feeling particularly chirpy or optimistic these days, and you cannot really blame him. It’s never very nice to find out that one’s team (after all the effort during the off-season, not to mention a few hundred million dollars in expenditure) has produced a car that is slower than that of the previous year. Somehow that doesn’t inspire confidence. Further, it looks like replacing Geoff Willis with Shuhei Nakamoto as technical director isn’t paying rich dividends, especially considering Honda’s strong performance in the latter half of 2006 has been reduced to this. According to Ross Brawn, a new technical director takes around 3 years to start producing results, and Jense is obviously not thrilled to bits about waiting 3 more years. One gets the distinct feeling that the next juorno to ask Jense about Lewis Hamilton’s supposed genius is going to get plugged in the eye for his troubles, and deservedly so. So what does Button have to say about Nick Fry’s proclamation that “The RA107 can be right up there with Renault and BMW in a month’s time”? “It is a small improvement” he says after testing the new parts flown into Sepang, “We are not getting excited about it”. That’s that then.

Felipe Massa got a shade philosophical when asked about Kubica hinting at the possibility of the new Ferrari having alien origins. “We are all on the same planet” he confirms much to our relief, “You too, and me as well”. That’s good then, very less probability of McLaren accusing Ferrari of employing Martians in car development – though it is not clearly forbidden in the FIA rules I am sure. So is Norbert Haug’s practice of waking up in the morning, standing in front of the mirror and repeating “Everyday in every way we get closer to the Ferrari” 10 times helping? “Yes” concurs Massa, “McLaren is also difficult to beat, and BMW is strong as well. We just need to approach racing in the same way as them”. Massa was also asked about the difference between the two tyre compounds, and while this might have led Kimi to remark “Who cares? Just give me a car with four tyres on it” or more accurately a cryptic “There is a difference but they are similar, so I don’t think it is a massive one”, Massa was a little more eloquent. He feels soft tyres are better suited to the beginning of the race if one is stuck in traffic and can’t push too much, what with the possibility of safety cars as well. Apparently Luca Baldisserri was banking on Takumo Sato causing a few safety car periods when he framed the strategy, and was disappointed about Sato’s rather uncharacteristic drive.

“With Montoya now gone, we are all looking to Sato to provide the occasional crash fest” says a disapproving Ferrari insider, “And his performance in the first race in this regard left a lot to be desired. Montoya could have knocked out at least five cars given the same opportunity”. It is not known if Flavio thinks this is the same Takumo Sato or perhaps indeed his brother who drove the race instead.

schumifootball.jpgThe final piece of news for the day – we are beginning to strongly suspect that Michael Schumacher (Former Ferrari driver and all that) cannot keep still for a few moments without embarking on the next grand endeavor. If you were wondering what Schumi has been up to, apart from holding secret team boss meetings in Maranello or purchasing F1 teams by the dozen that is…not to mention super-assisting Jean Todt, testing Tony Karts in Italy or attending photography exhibitions or golf tournaments all over the globe, he has taken on the challenge of rescuing local football team FC Echichens II from dropping out of the Swiss regional league. “Michael trains twice a week with us” says coach Maric Grujica (or so I could decipher from Alta Vista), “He is very ambitious (Really? Well, that’s news to us) and wants to absolutely prevent the team from dropping out”. And this is thought to be a tall order as the team is currently in last place or something along those lines. So good luck to Schumi on that, and while he deals with his latest ‘Mission Impossible’ (as he calls it), just a week left for the Malaysian grand prix to kick off. Forza Ferrari.