Suffice to say here at FFN even with our over-enthusiastic imaginations and propensity for making up a load of old twaddle on a rather regular basis, we have come to the startling realisation this week that we have been totally outclassed and could be out of a job.

Back in June when it first came to light that a certain former Ferrari Mechanic had escaped from his broom cupboard back at Maranello, and disappeared off on his jollies with a sample of mysterious white powder down his red breeches and some top secret 780 page light bedtime reading under his arm, little did we realise that a saga to top anything Hollywood could come up with was about to unfurl before our very eyes.

wmsc-meeting.jpgSince the World Motorsports Council Meeting (WMSC) on Thursday, skeletons have been popping out of wardrobes at a somewhat alarming rate. The only person who hasn’t had a scallywag jumping unexpectedly out of his bedroom furniture it would appear is Ferrari CEO Jean Todt, and only then we assume on account that there is no room amongst his 67 identical red sweaters coupled with the fact his wardrobe is only 3 foot high anyway which is a bit cramped for the average set of bones.

On Thursday shortly after the WMSC delivered the verdict on the spy scandal that has somewhat monopolised F1 of late (not to mention nearly warn my keyboard out), details began to emerge about the reasons behind the decision by the WMSC to impose what some thought was a draconian punishment of magnificent proportions on the McLaren team. After all, if reports from the McLaren camp were to be believed they hadn’t done anything wrong, and nobody had seen anything…. So it was all a bit unfair wasn’t it?

delapinkandnando.jpgWe soon learnt that McLaren had very narrowly missed out on getting a 2 year ban from the sport (and only then being saved by pint sized megalomaniac Bernie Ecclestone) due to new evidence that had come to light. According to the FIA report that was shortly to follow, various McLaren drivers namely Pedro the Pink and Fandango Eyebrows-agogo had during the course of a few months been gossiping like a bunch of wishwives on the McLaren computer system concerning secret information that was being passed over by McLaren’s resident photocopying expert Mike Coughlan. The only thing missing from this cosy set up we are to understand being a set of knitting needles, a ball of wool and blue rinses all round. McLaren’s other driver Lewis Hamilton only missing out on account he wasn’t old enough to join in.

Without boring you too much with all the nitty-gritty details (and I’ll gladly admit the fact my eyes glazed over, I slipped out my chair and started dribbling like an idiot after the first page) Mike Coughlan and Nigel Stepney had not only exchanged some light bedtime reading, but something in the region of 288 sms messages, 35 phone calls and unlimited number of clandestine love trysts between March and July, systematically passing over details of just about everything you can think of to do with Ferrari, strategies, weight ratios, tyre pressures, Ferrari President Luca Di’s real age, and what was on the menu at Il Cavallino. All top secret stuff.

This was then digested and discussed between McLaren’s Spanish contingent via email and texts, with the intention of testing some of it out, purely out of curiosity of course. Fandango apparently asking Pink to clarify that the source was genuine and in his reply Peter Pink replied something like:

Dearest Temperamental Tantrum Throwing One,

Yes it is genuine. It’s that bloke with the poor kneecap and dodgy beard who used to prance around the pitlane at Ferrari before Michael Schumacky tried running him over. Yes, yes the one with white powder down his long johns. Well he is friends with Xerox Mike and Mike said he can even tell us what lap that vodka swilling Finnish bloke will pit (I mean retire due to a car failure) on.

Yours Forever with kisses on top, Pedro (pouting coz I didn’t get the race drive) Pink

Anyway before you all slip into a coma, I had better stop whittering on and get to the point (assuming there is one). Ah yes, the FIA like Ferrari didn’t take too kindly to all this emailing secrets willy-nilly. Presumably because racing drivers should be outside risking life and limb, doing what they are paid for and not embroiling themselves in espionage and dodgy goings on and getting F1 into the media in America finally which Bernie never quite managed despite his best efforts.

After much deliberation, it was decided that really McLaren had been rather naughty, and it wasn’t going to wash just because Ron had apparently not known all of this was going on under his nostrils. Perhaps Ron had been too busy polishing his slaphead and acting like a pompous twit all these years instead of paying attention to what his employees were up to.

mad-max.jpgFIA president Mad Max was all for despatching the McLaren team out of Formula 1 for 2007 and 2008 for cheating, but tempered by Bernie and some of the other members of the WMSC eventually relented and allowed them to stay in the sport albeit minus $100 million of their pocket money and without any constructors championship points. Boo hoo.

Max later confirmed he also had considered stripping the McLaren drivers of their points as well, but since he had offered them amnesty for snitching he couldn’t really go back on his word.

As the week wore on, more bizarre stories began escaping out of the woodwork. There were suggestions that Fernando Alonso had held his team to ransom over the information he held, demanding to be given preferential treatment after the Nurburgring Debacle. However Nando probably didn’t reckon on McLaren CEO Ron Dennis deciding to dob his own team into the FIA and his plan to gain number one status fell about as flat as a cowpat.

Here at FFN we are a little baffled then why McLaren seemed so shocked and surprised to be found guilty and on the receiving end of a supposedly draconian punishment, when they had provided the evidence to hang, draw and quarter themselves. Doh!

Suffice to say McLaren and Ron’s reputations now lay in tatters, even the once partisan British Media laying into them for cheating and even suggesting their golden boy really shouldn’t be allowed to race for the drivers championship, as it is now considered tainted.

lucadi.jpgFerrari have no such qualms about their provisional World Championship Constructors pot being tainted thank you very much, Luca Di announcing that he really didn’t mind if they had to win it in the courtroom as long as he had something to pop into his trophy cabinet. Presumably now the trophy hogging German who had filled up Maranello with pots left, right and centre has retired, Luca Di is feeling somewhat aggrieved at the odd few young Kimi and Felipe have managed to muster together this season.

Ron has apparently suggested over the weekend that he doesn’t know if McLaren will appeal the ruling that has branded them cheats and left them worse off than pantomime baddies, because he wants to achieve closure. Looking visibly strained the McLaren CEO commented that he wants to do what is in the best interests of F1 and if that means not appealing so be it.

Call us old cynics, but we thought that McLaren might not want to appeal on account they would have to endure another lengthy day of bickering with the pint sized Yoda from Ferrari over the table in Paris, only to come out with an even bigger punishment and a boot shoving them out the door of F1 for a lengthy period. But what would we know.

billy-no-mates.jpgMeanwhile, with all this going on, the man whose evidence sealed McLaren’s fate …yes Mr. Fandango Popular….doesn’t seem to be overly concerned that the brown stuff has the hit fan because he has been acting like a petulant 6 year old child. Nando refused all race weekend in Spa to comment on his role in the sorry saga, and said he would only speak to journalists about normal racing things like tyres, strategies…and presumably Ferrari’s weight distribution if they asked nicely.

Additionally he doesn’t seem to be at all concerned that he may lose the support of his team over the affair, claiming that he is staying where he is and happy while he still has a winning car. That’s until the wheels start falling off one by one and bananas are found sticking mysteriously out the exhaust pipe. Perhaps amongst all his other talents of tantrum throwing, blackmail, media manipulation and mind games, Nando is also a secret dab hand at engineering and will be setting up his own car in future to ensure those dastardly British people don’t sabotage his championship hopes.

With more evidence due to be released by the FIA later on in the week, we can only assume more bizarre twists and turns will seep out the woodwork and the F1 soap opera will continue apace. If any more ‘smoking guns’ are found, we are thinking Nando might want to invest in a bullet proof vest for under his race suit. Stay tuned, that’s unless you’re called Nige in which case you probably know how this one will end.

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