August 2007

kimi-at-monza.jpgSpeaking yesterday after the first day of testing at Monza in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix in little under two weeks time, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen appeared to be looking forward with some enthusiasm to Ferrari’s ‘home Grand Prix’.

Naturally we are just as shocked as you are, as up until now we were pretty damned sure he didn’t even know how to spell enthusiasm let alone act with it. And with all that Finlandia Vodka supposedly swilling around his gills, does he actually notice what country he is on any given day anyway?

But whatever Ferrari have been doing with their Kim-bot, the Flying Finn has reportedly mentioned on his website that he really feels the difference to the past, has a good relationship with the Italian fans and is hoping to be able to win at Monza and celebrate with the tifosi.

We can only hope his “celebrating” is going to be a little more enthusiastic compared to what we have witnessed so far this season. Which has mainly consisted of the same blank facial expression, guzzling the champagne like a goldfish and standing about on the top step with about as much liveliness as you’d expect from a rigid cardboard cut-out.

Presumably if he stands about like that at Monza for too long he risks getting carted off as a piece of track memorabilia by an over-enthusiastic Ferrari fan.

All joking aside, it is nice to see that finally Kimi seems to be warming to the team and it’s slightly mad-cap fanbase, well at least his face is going slightly red after each Grand Prix, so that’s something.

bananaman-brawn.jpgIn other news concerning the Maranello based squad, Ferrari CEO Jean Todt has reportedly put the kaibosh on Uncle Ross (Banana-man) Brawn coming back to the F1 team in the role of Team Boss. Shortly after the Turkish Grand Prix, the feisty four-foot Frenchman insisted that he did not feel ready to retire from the F1 team yet, and was hoping to keep going for a few more years at least.

Here at FFN we are pretty sure we heard Jean lamenting last year that he would have retired had he not got beaten out the door by the departure of Schumi and Ross in 2006. The Frenchman suggesting he stayed on out the goodness of his heart to ensure some continuity and stability for the Ferrari Team.

Jean has apparently pointed out that Bernie Ecclestone is 15 years his senior and still going at it (with all the sprightliness of a gold-digging power-crazy despot or three), and sees no reason why he can’t do the same. We do feel carrying on though until your being carted off the pitwall in a box is taking the concept of continuity just a tad far, but you know we aren’t brave enough to argue that with Jean in case he starts biting at our ankles instead of Ron’s.

It remains to be seen just what role Banana-man Brawn might come back in then, if at all for the Maranello Squad. Suffice to say if he can’t come to an agreement with Ferrari, he could always start advertising for Del Monte.

lewis.jpgMeanwhile McLaren’s golden-boy Lewis Hamilton has issued an ultimatum to the Media. According to Lewis, the press interest in his personal life (or lack of) needs to stop or he will be driven out of Britain for good. We would have thought having the ITV-F1 TV crew following you about night and day, fawning at your feet and gushing like lovestruck teenagers every time your name is mentioned would be enough to send Lewis scuttling off at high speed to Outer Mongolia already.

We can only assume the lure of owning a humungous house, being able to drive supercars about without fear of the police stopping you, avoiding the Inland Revenue’s sticky mitts and living someplace where people parade around in bikini’s instead of wellingtons and umbrellas 24/7 has really little or nothing to do with the fact Lewis is already thinking of escaping the British Isles. Honestly, Guv. (If you’re reading this Lewis – we will willingly carry your bags for you).

Someone else who seems to be packing his bags rather hurriedly is Spyker’s Chief Designer John McQuilliam. According to the latest reports, Spyker have suspended him and issued the following statement: “his position is being investigated by the team”.

The Spyker team will not be drawn on why their Chief Designer is getting the heave-ho, but as is always the way with Formula 1 rumours have already started flying left, right and centre.

While some point to the fact the new B Spec Spyker has failed the latest rear impact crash tests as the reason for John’s sudden departure, others are wondering if it’s divine justice for inflicting that horrific Day-Glo orange paint scheme on the unsuspecting public.

Meanwhile here at FFN we like to think its because John’s Italian is rubbish and therefore what he actually thought was a rather splendid 780 page top secret publication on how to build a Ferrari (courtesy of our Nige) actually turned out to be a recipe for Spag Bol.


icklefelipe1.jpgIf you are anything like us here at FFN (no I’m not suggesting your half-baked) you will no doubt have been as pleased at punch this last weekend that the Formula 1 finally returned to some on-track action in Istanbul, Turkey after 3 weeks off.

It’s not that we don’t find the daily changes in Lewis Hamilton’s love life fascinating, or the neverending contradictory press statements that seem to fall out of Nando’s mouth for that matter either, but well its finally good to be able to talk about some racing rather than what is going on over at McLaren’s Multi-million pound Creche.

Suffice to say we are chuffed to bits that Ferrari finally managed to pull their crayons out and give McLaren a good on-track thrashing (as opposed to the vebal media/courtroom type stuff), although no doubt if your a McLaren fan (yes those mythical creatures…we aren’t terribly sure if they exist either) the Turkish Grand Prix on sunday will have been a bit of a let down.

As is quite often the case these days, the race order was pretty much decided the previous day in qualifying when ickle Felipe managed to snatch pole position from the sticky mitts of Lewis Lovechild.

The Kimster had been looking like he was going to get pole, but unfortunately the flying finn got slightly distracted in turn 13 and made a slight mistake, presumably because he was too busy gawping like a slapped haddock at a poster for a new flavour of Finlandia Vodka. However Kimi was adamant he would rather have qualified third than second, as starting on the clean side of the grid meant he wouldn’t have to get any dust on his beer goggles.

the-slug-on-the-upperlip-look.jpgMcLaren’s Double World Champion Nando only managed to secure 4th spot in qualifying, despite threatening earlier on to set a fast time, but unfortunately the Spaniard made a slightly baffling tyre choice for his last run. Nando went out on the harder compound despite everyone else opting for the opposite and subsequently was unable to improve on his time. We can only wonder if he lost all his common sense when he lost that hilarious beard and ‘tache.

Star of the day (apart from Felipe for pole) had to go to Super Aguri’s Ant Davidson for managing to drag his car up into 11th spot, narrowly missing out on getting into the final top ten shoot out. Well at least he managed to keep it out of the gravel trap for a change, much to the palpable relief of his mechanics.

Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher who is currently struggling to hold onto his drive for next year, helped his cause no end by serially underachieving yet again and could only manage a meagre 18th spot which is pretty poor for one of the “top three” as he terms himself.

On Race Day, once proceedings got under way the Kimster was able to redeem himself at the start shooting past the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton to take up second position behind team mate ickle Felipe. Meanwhile Nando went slightly backwards down the grid with both the BMW-Sauber’s of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica barging past to relegate him down into 6th spot.

the-ferraris.jpgThis pretty much set the tone for the race, Ferrari leading out front and McLaren never really finding an answer on track, despite the fact Ron Dennis is insisting now McLaren could have easily beaten Ferrari if they had caught us. Presumably then they thought they would just let us have this one out of the kindness of their hearts. Bless.

Mark Webber must be wondering what on earth was wrong with his crystal ball, as he must be rueing the day he ever signed for Red Bull. The Aussie yet again having to retire due to gearbox problems for the umpteenth time this year, personally I reckon he should insist on having an automatic car…might be less troublesome.

Meanwhile the Honda cars were battling on track with Rubens receiving a radio call from his engineer reporting that according to Jense he was 2 seconds a lap faster. Rubens response was something to the effect “Don’t make me laugh!”. We can assure you Rubens the dire performance of Honda is no laughing matter, however that slightly comedic goatee you were sporting throughout the weekend is a different matter entirely.

Not long after the first round of pitstops ensued, Raikonnen coming in followed by Massa a lap later. McLaren this weekend having set out two pitboxes just in case their wayward driving duo insisted on coming in together to refuel and reboot. The Ferrari’s were sent out again on their way with the softer tyres (as they had started with) while McLaren went out on the harder tyres…which no doubt they would be lamenting later on as the Ferrari’s galloped away.

Despite being a great track for overtaking, this race was a bit processional and we did struggle in parts not to fall asleep so we haven’t the faintest how Kimi managed not to. In the latter stage of the race Kimi was able to catch up with ickle Felipe and looked like he might be able to challenge the dimunitive Brazilian to a bit of wheelbanging action, unfortunately though the mighty duel did not materialise and we were left to slip back into our comatose state.

At the second round of pitstops Kimi thought he might play a bit of a practical joke on his pitcrew and stopped a few metres short of his pitbox, meaning the poor little italians had to jump up hotfoot it to his car and set to work like an army of ants who had been on too much caffeine.

flailing-about.jpgThe highlight of the race then occured. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton’s right front tyre deciding it was going to dramatically fall part, gifting Ferrari a few more points over their rivals in the championship battle as the Englishman limped around the track back to the pits with his tyre flailing about all over the place like Nando does in a hissy-fit.

Luckily for Lewis he managed to keep his car out of the wall (take note you Spykers) and got back to his pitbox to receive new tyres despite having received some damage to the front wing of his car. Nando was thus able to snatch third spot from his team mate, but Lewis fortunately managed to keep it all together and bring home his car in fifth place to score four points.

In the closing laps Kimi set the fastest lap of the race which is becoming his trademark this season, however here at FFN we are left wondering when he is going to actually a) do it in qualifying and b) string multiple fastest laps together and actually get on with winning some races…which is presumably what Ferrari are paying him stupid sums of money for.

All in all the Turkish Grand Prix was a rather boring race, but great to see Felipe and Kimi bringing home a 1-2 result for the Maranello boys keeping their championship hopes very much alive….despite Keke Rosberg’s claims to the contrary.

Forza Ferrari.

fiatruck.jpgThe gospel according to the pint-sized megalomaniac midget Bernie Ecclestone, is that the McLaren Mercedes F1 team will again escape the rap over their involvement in F1’s current espionage saga.

The FIA Court of Appeal hearing due to be held on September 13th will be convened to allow all interested parties (including those outside Ferrari) to put forward their evidence and chip in their 20 cents regarding the current espionage debacle, which had not happened at the initial FIA farce.

However F1 supremo Bernie believes that unless you have evidence of “the guy with the shooter in his hands, pulling the trigger” there is not really a lot that can be done about it. Here at FFN we can only assume that Bernie is suggesting that we need photographic evidence, perhaps of Ron perched on his porcelain throne having a thorough perusal of Ferrari Secret Documents. Sadly for Ferrari, but probably fortunate for the rest of us poor souls, none such evidence is thought to exist…. And who in their right mind would want to take a look anyway?

So it would seem Ferrari will have to do their fighting on the track instead, or hope for the McLaren driving duo to do everyone a favour and punch each others lights out. Of course I can’t really see Alonso being a fist-fighter…he probably can carry off a pretty mean girly slap though, and what would Lewis do? Pop a cap in his team mates a***?

Of course McLaren would have us believe all is now harmonious with their camp after keeping their drivers away from the Instanbul race circuit throughout all of Thursday, to convene a special peace talks meeting.

lewis-and-nando-plot.jpgUnconfirmed rumours have suggested that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was flown in wearing full body armour by the team, to mediate between Lewis and Fernando should any untoward situations arise. The team initially met with each driver separately first, Ron presumably talking at length until he was sure each of the poor poppets would agree to just about anything to stop his incessant multi-syballic chatter.

Reports suggest Lewis and Fernando then met up again for the first time since Hungary in the team Hotel, where eye witnesses last saw them heading to the Hotel Bar plotting how to dispose of their boss in the Bosphorous.

Obviously in slightly talkative mode this week, Bernie lambasted McLaren’s tactics at keeping the drivers away from the circuit claiming the move was bad for Formula 1. Presumably Bernie being concerned that with no handbags at dawn going on down the pitlane; F1 wouldn’t be making any sensationalist front-page tabloid news this week.

Meanwhile a new scandal could be about to hit F1, if reports from the German Media are to be believed. No, its not what your thinking Michael Schumacher hasn’t been arrested for crimes against good taste and fashion…not this week anyway.

thegreatpsychicmassa.jpgApparently the latest scandal revolves around little Brazilian poppet Felipe Massa, who reportedly knew the exact punishment McLaren would receive at Hungary from the Race Stewards for their little pitlane queuing contratemps.

According to the German Media reports, Felipe mentioned to two reporters that Alonso would be demoted five spots down the grid and McLaren unable to gain any constructor points in Hungary, some 50 or so minutes before the Race Stewards had even come to a decision.

If this report is to be believed, Felipe is either a very clever psychic (is there anyone in the pitlane without a pair of spandex tights and super powers these days?) or has an inside contact the FIA.

If it is the former we are a little bemused how he could so accurately predict the outcome of the stewards decision before it had been made, yet hadn’t the first darned inkling his team were going to conveniently forget to refuel him during the qualifying session earlier that day.

If it is the latter, then that old ‘FIA favour Ferrari’ chestnut is going to get wheeled out in all its glory once more. I’m in favour of the second, but only because I don’t think I could bear to see Felipe’s spindly little legs crammed into shiny red tights – it’s enough to make anyone’s eyes water.

One other possibility does comes to mind…perhaps the two reporters involved were incapable of reading their wrist-watches accurately due to considerable consumption of Kimi’s rocket fuel, and therefore they are making an imaginary mountain out of a molehill yet again.

Finally one last snippet of news, Uncle Ross (Brawn) has been in talks with the Ferrari team recently concerning a possible return to the Maranello outfit. According to Ferrari’s Press Spokespersonage Luca Colajanni initial talks have taken place but no decisions have yet been made…presumably another vague do what you like, and we haven’t even got a title for it job coming right up.

dcandfelipe.jpgThat David Coulthard’s got some nerve! Affectionately referred to as cube-head by some, the former McLaren driver who is next only to Attila the Hun when it comes to wreaking havoc in wet races was caught trying to needle poor Felipe Massa during the FIA press conference. Going by Felipe’s spirited exchange of words with Fernando Alonso just a few weeks ago, DC must be thanking his lucky stars Felipe didn’t just turn around and plug him in the eye to end the debate. “How do we know that Ferrari didn’t deliberately not put fuel in Felipe’s car?” DC apparently pointed out during the press conference, “Maybe that was a team decision to benefit Kimi. How do you forget to put fuel in a car?” Well, I suppose the same way people do fatheaded things like slowing down in the racing line in the rain or attempting to decapitate fellow drivers by jumping over them with the car. But you wouldn’t know, would you DC?

We do agree that Ferrari have committed some public gaffes in the past. “Rubens, please let Mikol pass for the sampeonsip” comes readily to mind, which made us all wonder rather reproachfully if anyone in Ferrari had heard of such a thing called code language. Ideally, whenever McLaren got DC to move aside for Hakkinen, they apparently did so by saying “it’s a fine day, did you see that sparrow?”. While this might have raised questions about Ron Dennis’s mental state had the radio transcripts been published (I mean, talking about spotting sparrows when his driver is going purple attempting to manouever a F1 car), no one would have suspected them of issuing team orders. Sadly, subtelity is something that was lacking in Ferrari then.

But to suggest that Ferrari would deliberately risk looking like supreme jackasses just so they can give their in-house gorilla-suit donning James Hunt fan a better shot at the race is to stretch things a bit whichever way you look at it. And we have already explained the unfortunate events leading up to Massa’s attempt to qualify with no fuel here on FFN before. As we said, this was because Luca Baldisserri had misplaced his strategy crayons and was searching for them frantically, while the rest on the pitwall were helping him look for it…and no one noticed Felipe had come in and gone out during all the commotion. Happens to the best of them. Surely you remember when Ferrari tried to send Eddie Irvine out with three tyres in 1999? I think we can assume a master strategist like Ross Brawn knows a car is generally faster on four tyres than it is on three. Just a lapse is what it is.

So enough with the conspiracy theories already. Michael Schumacher’s engine failure in Suzuka ’06 has nothing to do with Schumi nearly taking out Nige in 2000 and giving him a wobbly knee to boot. And Ferrari’s fatheaded mistake in forgetting to refuel Felipe in Hungary is just that – a fatheaded mistake. It’s on to Turkey now, and as always, keeping fingers crossed for a Ferrari 1-2. Forza.

by-the-powers-of-the-force-these-sunglasses-will-come-off.jpgWhat a talented chappie Fernando Alonso is. Not only has he won 2 World Driver Championships in F1, an Oscar for his post race podium performances, but he is apparently a skilled Jedi-Master as well.

Before you think I have completely lost the plot let me explain.

According to a recent report on the internet, Michael Schumacher’s (The Red Baron) 2006 Formula 1 season was apparently sabotaged. A report on the internet penned by a journalist (note I used this term loosely) has suggested that the technical failures suffered in the last 2 races of the 2006 season maybe a result of sabotage.

This journalist apparently suggests that in the light of Ferrari exposing Nigel Steppers not only as a spy but a saboteur to boot, it is pretty evident the two technical failures in Japan and Brazil 2006 were not untimely and unfortunate technical glitches as we all assumed, but the work of a campaign to ensure Mr Schumacher did not get away with his 8th large title pot.

You may well wonder what the deuces this has to do with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso…so let me enlighten you. According to this said same journalist, there has been one beneficiary all along from Ferrari’s misfortunes….firstly at Renault last season, then this season at McLaren thanks to the selfless acts of a certain Mr.Steppers.

Here at FFN we can only conclude that Mr.Alonso must indeed have special powers if he is able to so easily brainwash rival teams engineers to do his evil bidding, too bad his Jedi-mind tricks don’t seem to have worked on his own team “You will make me number 1 driver and get rid of this upstart”, “no we won’t” well you get the idea….presumably this is just evidence that the McLaren CEO does in fact have a cabbage instead of a brain.

hello-ron-have-i-got-the-drive-yet.jpgIt seems Alonso’s influential powers do not stop there. No indeed it would seem Renault’s test driver Nelson Piquet Jnr has strangely succumbed to the diva-ish ways of the Spaniard. The Renault test driver apparently issuing a statement this week insisting that no backmarker teams need bother approaching him to offer him a drive for 2008, because he will only agree to drive for a top team where he can collect points on a regular basis like Lewis Hamilton.

We can’t help thinking that as a test driver with zero F1 race starts to your name, your not really in the greatest position to start making demands and throwing rejections about before you’ve even been offered a car. But what would we know, having hissy-fits, swanning about with a huge entourage and being a bit snooty seems to be all the rage these days in F1.

Even Ralf Schumacher, (yes the less successful brother) has reportedly scoffed at the idea of being offered a drive with backmarkers Scuderia Torro Rosso next year, despite rumours that he could be on the way out the back door of the sport. Ralfie apparently suggesting he might have succumbed to the idea 12 years ago, but not now. STR Team Boss Gerhard Berger commented that although no official offer was made he accepted that Schumacher would find it hard to return to a team like STR. It’s quite baffling really, it’s not like Toyota are doing so fabulously well either….but we are guessing they are at least stupid enough to pay him huge sums of money.

dolmabahce-palace.jpgMeanwhile in Turkey, tomorrow (thursday) there is an F1 stageshow scheduled to take part at the Dolmabahce palace. 11 of the F1 drivers are scheduled to attend for a photo session and to answer questions. The event is open to both the public and the media.

Not quite what we call a stageshow, we were expecting at least some singing, dancing and to see Felipe Massa wearing a dress….but you can’t have it all I suppose.

We have decided to introduce a new series in FFN titled…as you have rightly guessed…”The Pot Calling the Kettle Black”. Or alternately “Look Who’s Talking!” (accompanied by appropriate rolling of eyes and booing noises). The idea would be to highlight instances like, say, Ron Dennis accusing someone of being overly verbose, or Nigel Mansell wishing F1 drivers wouldn’t be so darned dramatic these days. Or how about Hiedfeld suggesting Jense should get a shave? Perhaps even Nigel Stepney worrying about increasing statistics of industrial espionage (or do they call it whistle-blowing these days)? Oh well, you get the general picture.

So this week, the focus is going to be on Nelson Piquet (sr. of course. Jr. is too busy trying to convince Flavio to give Fisi the boot and install him instead…not that Flavio requires too much of convincing given current performance). Piquet has apparently been interviewed advising the McLaren duo – Alonso and Hamilton (not Dennis and Haug though it would be equally appropriate) to shut up. “It is never good when you lose respect for your rivals” says Piquet. Yes, that would be the same man who was caught on video practising his karate chops on an unsuspecting Eliseo Salazar just because poor Eliseo (who never aspired to become the greatest racing driver) took him out while being lapped. And to think of the amount of fuss Spa ’98 generated just because Schumi took a friendly stroll to DC’s garage to politely enquire if it was DC’s intention to kill him for it certainly seemed so in the race. Anyway, here’s video proof of this week’s pot on global television. Hope you enjoy it, forza!

Calling all FFN readers!

Here at FFN we would like to sincerely thank everyone who has visited our blog since we began back in December 2006, your feedback and continued support is much appreciated.

We would like to offer you all the chance to become more involved, and with that in mind we are opening up an opportunity for you all to have a go at writing an article for us.

If you have a sense of humour and can see the funny side of the goings on inside F1, don’t be shy! Jot down your thoughts on a current issue/subject and post them to us, and we will publish the best posts every week. You don’t need to be a professional writer, or to even have done this before….go on give it a try!

All you need to do is:

Identify a subject/subjects you want to write about
Think up a pseudonym / username (useful to hide behind if your shy)
Write down your thoughts on the subject at hand
Post it to us along with any pictures you want to include
Try to keep it reasonably short (no 15 page lengthy missives please Mr Ronald Dennis!)

We will then read your post, check that we aren’t about to be thrown in a Guatemalan jail for publishing it and all be well and good, we will publish the best ones for everyone to read.

You never know you could end up writing for us all the time and save mankind not to mention poor FerrariFan from having to read my dreadful mad old ramblings on a daily basis!

So if your interested, please please please drop your posts into our postbox anytime at:

Eagerly waiting to hear from you, sugarpuff x

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