Just when we thought that the month off between the Bahrain and Spanish Grand Prix would be a relatively quiet affair, thus giving us free reign here at FFN to make up a lot of old twaddle…. Along comes a whole bunch of news all in one day to put paid to the plan.

The FIA it would seem get just as bored as the rest of us in between the races, and like to find ways to entertain themselves. When they are not sending Formula 1 drivers with dubious driving histories off to the UN to promote road safety, they are re-arranging their false teeth, tripping youths up with their zimmer-frames and making up new party games. The favourite game of the moment involves writing to the F1 teams with just a few weeks to go before a race to drop a nasty little surprise in their laps. Inevitably the poor little engineering mites have to stop working on their latest cunning invention they were planning on slipping past Charlie Whiting (FIA technical delegate) and go to work making the last one legal.

fiafloors.jpgThis week the FIA are back on the case of the flexi-floor. They feel that some teams are still attempting to exploit loopholes in the FIA regulations (as if they would!). After inspecting all of the cars in Malaysia and Bahrain, the FIA have decided to impose even stricter rigidity tests, to put a stop to teams who appear to be building floors with the sole purpose of increasing aerodynamic efficiency at speed.

You may remember after the Australian Grand Prix when McLaren went tittle-tattling, the FIA wrote to all the teams telling them the use of springs/stays to hold the floor to the chassis were not in fitting with the regulations and would have to be removed. Now they have decided the naughty little boys are still making the floor’s flex at speed (although the FIA can’t quite figure out how), so they are introducing further more stringent rigidity tests ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix. The cars floors will now have to be able to resist 2000 Newtons of upward pressure as opposed to the original 500 Newtons. What it all means and who it will effect I haven’t got the foggiest, but I’m expecting either a lot of cars being launched into the stratosphere from the FIA weigh-bridge, or a total ban on floors by the end of the season. (Which could be a bit hairy for the poor old drivers as they go over the kerbs).

hondawindtunnel.jpgI’m sure the flexi-floor saga is the least of the worries at poor old Honda. According to Rubens Barrichello, performance improvements identified in the Honda Wind Tunnel just don’t seem to be coming to fruition on track. Writing on his personal website, Rubens (who is turning out to be quite the philosopher) suggests that he has two theories on why the wind tunnel results don’t seem to be transferring onto the car. The first is that the wind tunnel has been calibrated incorrectly and the second is that when the parts are being built as a response to the wind tunnel results they are not coming out right.

We decided to do a bit of digging about. According to rumours, it would seem that the chap put in charge with the callibration and operation of the Honda wind tunnel has in fact no aerodynamic experience whatsoever. This might explain a thing or two about why Honda’s current car seems to act like a ‘parachute’ when it’s going in a straight line. Here at FFN we are wondering if the hapless chap has actually been popping the RA107 into the wind tunnel the wrong way, and then wondering why the hell no gust of wind is coming along at each grand prix to help the vehicle round the track.

Meanwhile over in Italy two former Ferrari employees have been found guilty of Industrial Espionage by a court in Modena. Mauro Iacconi and Angelo Santini were sentenced to 14 and 9 months in prison respectively for stealing industrial secrets from the Maranello based team. The dizzy dolts left Ferrari for Toyota in 2002, and decided they would help themselves to a few nuggets of information on the way out the door (although why they couldn’t stick to taking a few mugs and pens like anyone else we will never know).

Unfortunately the wretched pair got a bit carried away and everyone realised what was going on when Toyota popped out at the beginning of the 2003 with Ferrari’s car. It is thought the plethora of Marlboro stickers, red paint scheme and title F2002 was a bit of a give-away and the not so clever thieves were caught and subsequently fired by Toyota. However no real harm was done, as Toyota have kept loyal to their tradition of building turkeys to this day.

rondennis.jpgWith all this espionage, skullduggery and what-not going on you must be wondering if anything good and decent happens in the sport. I have to admit I got a little bit excited on Monday when I read the Headline ‘Dennis determined to step down’. Has McLaren’s CEO Ron Dennis finally answered all my prayers and decided enough is enough? Has he seen that Michael Schumacher at 38 is happily enjoying retirement and decided to follow suit?

No. It would seem we are stuck with the cantankerous old git with a personality bypass and a shiny forehead a while longer as he claims he is looking at retiring and handing over the reigns to his team at some point in the next five years. Whether this is because he is a control freak that just can’t let go, or because Mrs.Dennis is stubbornly and sensibly resisting any attempts to let him back into the family home we can’t say. Perhaps he is waiting for Lewis Hamilton to grow out of nappies, so he can stop ‘nannying’ him.

It would seem when the Ronster does finally decide to leave the sport, he will leave a huge gaping hole in our lives….we will all miss his warmth, his sense of humour and more than anything his passion for Ferrari…..and the FIA will sorely miss their weekly influx of fan mail.

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