At the beginning of 2007, Formula 1 fans everywhere were eager with anticipation for the season to begin, in what promised to be one of the most open and exciting championship years in a long time. With the retirement of 7 times World Champion Michael Schumacher, and the move of Double World Champion Fernando Alonso to McLaren and a much hyped flying Finn Kimi Raikkonen to Ferrari it was expected we would witness some really exciting close racing.
7 races into the season, all is not going as expected. Fernando is struggling not to be outclassed by a rookie to F1, and apart from his opening performance of the season things are not looking quite so rosy red for Kimi at Ferrari either. So what has gone wrong?
If you were to believe the rumours flying around currently concerning Ferrari, Maranello has descended into chaos and anarchy, and Luca Di is currently circling the perimeter security fence on a tractor so no one can escape.
So far we are being led to believe that Ferrari have suffered a failure of their wind tunnel at Ferrari HQ, which is rumoured to have put car development back several weeks. This would explain why the F2007 is rapidly going the way of Honda’s creation – backward down the grid, according to the armchair experts. Nothing to do with those two hapless thieves that absconded off to Toyota a while back was it? After all according to paddock chit-chat Toyota already have their beady eyes on one of our drivers…and wasn’t one of those hapless sticky-mitts a wind tunnel expert? The plot thickens.
It is also rumoured that since the departure of previous Technical Director Ross Brawn, the non-Italian members of the Ferrari squad have been feeling increasingly uncomfortable with current arrangements. Not least because they can’t understand a friggin word of the instructions they have been given, apparently, according to some mysterious nameless insider (who has probably never even been to Italy let alone inside the Gestione Sportiva).
It has also been suggested by some “in the know” that nobody at the Scuderia seems to have the first darned clue who is supposed to be doing what. Least of all ‘Super Assistant’ Michael Schumacher who seems to turn up now and then like a bit of tumbleweed being blown in the door, stands or sits around looking pretty on the pit wall gantry for the Press and then disappears off into obscurity once more. Leaving pretty much everyone none the wiser to his purpose or when he’ll blow in again.
Another mystery is why does Ferrari have a Technical Director who doesn’t actually turn up to races? How is the man supposed to lead technical development and improvements on the cars when he probably hasn’t even clapped his eyeballs on them? Or hasn’t the first darned clue what they look like in action? Is Mario Almondo surgically attached to his desk? Is he a hermit living in a bat-cave below the factory? We demand to be told the truth.
Along with the admissions by Ferrari’s Head of Track Operations Luca Baldisserri that they still haven’t the foggiest why the car isn’t as good as it should be, come some startling admissions by Kimi’s Race Engineer Chris Dyer. Apparently the Ferrari Engineers and Mechanics on Kimi’s side of the garage have had to throw all their old rule books and practices out of the window with their new charge.
According to Chris, Kimi doesn’t work remotely in the same way as Michael did (with some of us wondering if he actually works at all), so his entire crew is having to grope about in the dark carrying out a task that is tantamount to looking for needles in haystacks. The important question is can the Scuderia wait until 2015? As we suspect with the two or three mumbled words Kimi produces on a weekly basis it might take them until then to find out what his feedback is.
With all this supposed farcical chaos going on its a miracle that the Ferrari team actually manage to remember to turn up for races, let alone manage to remain in second place in one of the most highly competitive and hard fought Championships in Motorsport.
Inevitably since things have not being meeting the Italian Media and tifosi’s lofty standards (only winning is acceptable – otherwise heads should roll down Modena High Street), it wasn’t going to be long before this old chestnut got rolled out of the Ferrari broom cupboard.
According to German (eyebrows raised quizzically already) Publication ‘Auto Motor Und Sport’ that has brought us some cracking stories in the past, Michael Schumacher is being prepared in secret to make a comeback to take over from the lacklustre Kimi. According to the publication Michael has already secretly tested the F2007 in preparation, and it is inevitable that the calls for Kimi to step aside should have come, because it is thought that had Michael still been driving this year Ferrari really wouldn’t be in this mess.
Is it any wonder that Kimi looks so shifty every time Michael appears in the Ferrari Garage, he is no doubt fearful to turn his back lest he should step into his car to find he has been beaten to it and he is perching on the Red Baron’s knee.
Michael’s spokes-personage Sabine Kehm has categorically denied the reports insisting Schumi has no intention of getting back in the car, but we won’t let that stand in the way of a sensational comeback story.
Cor blimey. It really is getting like a series of the TV soap Dallas. Tune in next week to find out who shot Jean Todt, and if Aldo Costa actually has been kidnapped by Aliens, and just where has Massa’s race Engineer Rob Smedley got to of late?
Watch out for the next happy instalment of the F1 Soap Opera coming soon. Episode 2 – McLaren’s Media Troubles.