Kimi Raikkonen has been preparing very hard for the upcoming Sepang grand prix next week. What has he been upto? “To prepare myself in the best way possible I relaxed a bit after testing. I’m here in Malaysia in an island just off the coast with family and close friends ” he says (cleverly refraining from naming the island lest they be joined by not-so-close friends brandishing cameras). This is going to make teammate Felipe Massa wonder a bit because Massa has been undergoing elaborate training in the sweltering heat in Central Brazil to prepare for the same grandprix, and he is likely to feel a tad miffed with Kimi relaxing in Malaysia and calling it a “24/7 Finnish sauna”. But Kimi hasn’t been idling away either – “I played some tennis and I went to the gym. I must say I feel really fit”. Of course considering Jean Todt is also stationed in Malaysia within brick-throwing distance, Kimi has been taking extra care to ensure there is no headline containing the words ‘snowmobile’ and ‘Raikkonen’ in the same sentence. Further, it looks like Felipe Massa’s rain dances didn’t really work, what with all the rain forecasts for the Malaysian GP, and young Felipe is most displeased with the situation. However the tifosi remain confident that the diminutive Brazilian can come up with a stunning wet weather drive this weekend, and we have our fingers crossed.
We know McLaren has always had reliability issues with the engine frequently giving up and expiring at the most inopportune of moments (for them of course…for the tifosi a McLaren engine detonation is always most welcome), but when stories started emerging of McLaren running a car with four mirrors to catch the engine failure, we naturally dismissed it as a Fools day joke. Well, apparently not, they actually are carrying 4 mirrors for early detection of engine failure. Why early detection, you might ask…is Hamilton or perhaps Nando allergic to all the smoke? So it would give them adequate time to park the car and skip out? McLaren claims early detection helps in better diagnosis as you get something more substantial than charred remains, but it sounds rather dubious. Ron Dennis could not be reached for comments.
Talking of engine trouble, isn’t there some proverb about glass house and stones? Well, Kimi’s engine remains a concern for the Sepang GP, and this latest trend Ferrari is establishing with at least one reliability issue per race weekend is not reassuring, to say the least. The team apparently put up a sign that said ‘Cool’ next to the pitlane during Australian GP, but Kimi thought they were just congratulating him on his driving style. With the radio not working either, it took a few laps for him to catch the point. “If all the components in the package are not working perfectly, one cannot be competitive” explains Kimi (from years of experience at McLaren), and this obviously includes the engine as well. Needless to say, he is hoping to avert the penalty for changing the engine, but better a 10 place grid penalty than a smoky engine during the race. Either way, Kimi says “we will give it all”. That’s good enough for us.
The Swiss 2nd Division football team FC Echichens II must be wondering about their sudden surge in popularity what with their training sessions now being photographed and preserved for posterity. Reportedly, the audience for their training sessions were earlier limited to a few friendly Swiss cows from a nearby farm that displayed mild interest, and the team suspects the sudden surge might have something to do with a middle-aged German who has recently started training along with them who goes by the name of Michael Schumacher. Incidentally, Schumi won the last wet race in Sepang, let’s hope Kimi or Felipe can win the next. Forza.