Some things in Formula 1 are a given, you just know that as night follows day these things will inevitably happen. Flavio Briatore will have a least one tantrum a year, Ferrari will get reported to the FIA for something ‘illegal’, Takuma Sato will take someone off the race track, Bernie “Midget” Ecclestone will spark a political storm, Michael Schumacher will inadvertently cause a controversy (even when he is retired), and Ron Dennis will be in a good mood *cough*.
Yesterday true to form the McLaren CEO was in extremely good spirits as he climbed aboard his soapbox and let rip. What then this time has got up Ron’s broom handle? A multitude of issues it would seem. Ron started off lambasting the media for being so called ‘experts’ who seem to think they know better what is going on inside McLaren than Ron does. Many rumours have been circulating in previous weeks that tension is building in the McLaren camp between drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
The Ronster was quick to dismiss the rumours as tripe and suggested that while there was healthy competition between the McLaren Mercedes driver pairing, there was no truth in rumours that it’s man-bags at dawn across the McLaren Garage. In future Ron insisted these so-called experts would be better off minding their own business. Which really kind of defeats the main purpose of these people… which is to stick their nose in, get the wooden spoon out, and make up something preposterous if you can’t find out anything remotely newsworthy. Here at FFN we can’t help thinking the Ron could do with a few tips from Ferrari’s Luca Colajanni on how to handle the press, which is to listen to all the stupid rumours, say absolutely nothing and have a jolly good hysterical laugh about it all behind closed doors.
Not content to limit his ranting to just the Media, Ron then turned his attention to the RED BULLETIN, a light-hearted publication that is circulated in the paddock which pokes fun at F1 and it’s inhabitants. When asked by journalists why the publication had been banned from the McLaren Communication’s Centre, Ron replied “I think its a piece of rubbish” (not into having a sense of humour then we take it) “I feel that if we all focused on humorous magazines that criticise the other teams, I think the likes of Ferrari, with the support of Marlboro, could spend alot of time writing humorous things about other teams and individuals within the sport. I have a simple view that if people want to come and enjoy the hospitality of McLaren, they should respect the fact that I don’t particularly like what I consider a controversial document coming into our facility”.
We can only assume the queue of sour-faced humourless slightly retentive paddock inhabitees reaches right round the block as they queue up for some fun at the McLaren Communications Centre. Secondly why would Ferrari and Marlboro need to detract their energies from racing and waste time writing a load of humorous old rubbish, when here at FFN we do it for free on a daily basis? I won’t be camping out by the letterbox awaiting a special warm-hearted invite from Ron just yet then. Thirdly just what has any of this got to do with Ferrari? we haven’t got the foggiest considering the publication Ron maligned is in fact produced by Red Bull..but you know Ron never one to let the facts get in the way of a good backstab at his rivals.
While Ron was chuntering away like a grumpy old man from the local retirement home, a stampede was apparently ensuing amongst the British contingent of media hacks in the paddock at the prospect of an exciting expose. Rumour emerged yesterday that British sensation and McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton was at the other end of the paddock showing off his Helmet (as you do), which led to the British Media getting slightly over-excitable as they charged down the paddock like a herd of elephants. I might be slightly cynical but I really don’t see how a tin-pot hat with some silly paint and a few baubles encrusted on it can really cause a bunch of grown men to nearly wet themselves in excitement. Perhaps these journalists really need to get a life and get out a bit more.
Finally F1’s serial crash-meister Takuma Sato is apparently undecided on his future, which will no doubt cause consternation amongst his rival back-markers and a lot more work for the UN road safety awareness contingent. The Japanese star is not yet sure if his future remains with Super Aguri, but has denied rumours linking him to Toyota.
Although why Toyota would want to replace one guy who serially underperforms (Ralf) with a smaller slightly excitable kamikaze version is a complete mystery. Perhaps Toyota is on a cost cutting mission after frittering away millions of pounds with no success, or perhaps Ralf’s head has got too big for the Toyota garage, and that’s why they are looking at recruiting the Japanese Hobbit.
And just when you thought Michael Schumacher might actually get to grips with the fact retirement means you stop turning up at your place of work, he has popped up again in the Ferrari Garage in his capacity as ‘advisor’.
This time apparently the German Superstar will not be talking or engaging with the media…but keeping behind the scenes with the rest of the team. Michael still managed however to have a shed load of journalists excitedly following him about like a flock of sheep, despite his supposed low profile.
If this is the press furore he causes when he isn’t trying we’d hate to see what chaos he could muster when he puts his mind to it.