Here at FFN we are extremely concerned. Has someone been slipping something into the drinking water in the F1 paddock? Or is it merely the mysterious effects of the mountain air?
This week it seems the glossy PR, carefully worded press statements and ‘more slippery than an eel in a politician’s pocket’ approaches have gone out the window. Nearly everyone has descended into that age-old bastion of forthright opinions, spouting nonsense and name calling that is usually reserved for the likes of Niki Nostradamus Lauda.
Thus far this week we have had the FIA’s president Max Mosley no less shooting straight from the hip and telling us that former World Champion Jackie Stewart is a certified half-wit. We wonder if that certificate is courtesy of the FIA and mounted in a silver-gilded frame at Sir Jackie’s Mansion.
According to Mr Mosley, Jackie should shut his trap and stop spewing forth rubbish concerning the Spygate Scandal when he wasn’t in fact there or actually have the first darned clue what the evidence in the case was. Mind you after reading the lengthy transcript from the said same hearing on September 13th we’d be entirely surprised if anyone else who attended did, as Ferrari’s Lawyer Nigel Tozzi did seem to be able to talk the hind legs off a donkey.
And really what else are former forgotten F1 heroes of days gone past supposed to do when a microphone is shoved towards their left nostril? Start talking about the latest trend in knitted cardigans, slippers and the price of chewing tobacco?
The forthright expression of opinions does not stop there either (although we are perplexed at how quiet old Nostradamus has been this week). Indeed this week Ferrari’s President Luca Di Whatisname has popped out of the Maranello woodwork with a controversial statement or three. According to the tractor driving axe-wielding Italian, it matters little whoever shall win the World Drivers Championship this year out of the current contenders (Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen or Massa) as it will be done in a car that has a made in Maranello sticker firmly on it. Despite the fact McLaren insist most vehemently that no part of their current car comes from Ferrari…it just rather coincidentally has red paint on parts of it.
Even the odd Ferrari driver has jumped into the fray this week. Usually ickle Felipe leaves the politics to the mudslinging old farts from the paddock, but he couldn’t quite resist the urge to get a dig in at rival team McLaren. Ickle Felipe apparently declaring that Ferrari’s 15th Constructors Title is in no way tainted by what has happened this year, because his team have won it by working very hand and sticking to playing by the rules. (Instead of nipping out back and borrowing one of Stepney’s illicit instruction manuals we assume).
When asked to comment on why he felt McLaren did not appeal their punishment at the hands of the FIA, ickle Felipe is reported to have said something along the lines of “Usually, in any sport, if you do something wrong you have to pay the penalty and I think the decision that they did do something wrong is reinforced as being correct exactly by the fact they did not appeal”.
Given that McLaren’s own witnesses seemed to have done a thorough job of shooting themselves firmly in the foot at the last attempt, is it any wonder they aren’t too keen at going back for round two? As one casual observer quipped “McLaren’s Paddy Lowe couldn’t lie straight in bed” whatever that means!
The only man who seems immune to all the handbags flying overhead is Ferrari’s Kimbot. As ever his usual serene self, the Kimster has been concerning himself only with the on track action, what time the ice hockey is on TV, wheeling around Fuji on a motorbike with some bald headed chap and if he is getting meatballs for his evening meal. Despite only having 10 mumbled words to his vocabulary and disappearing off at a moments notice from Grand Prix, here at FFN we are beginning to really appreciate Kimi’s simple approach in contrast to some of the screaming fishwives that inhabit the paddock.
Despite earlier in the season declaring a media truce, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have come out at Fuji with feathers flying in just about every direction. Still smarting from their on track set-to at Spa, Lewis has commented that Alonso just isn’t who he thought he was. Presumably Lewis wasn’t expecting a reclusive, non-talkative (unless there is a reporter in front of him) histrionic drama queen with a penchant for driving you up the wall for a team mate then when the Double World Champion joined the Woking outfit. Leading us to wonder if he had been watching cartoons previously while the rest of us watched F1.
Lewis has decided to spark a psychological war via the tabloids, by claiming that the team now know who to back in the drivers title challenge, given the events of the last few weeks. Lewis has intimated that Nando has not been loyal to the team (given that he dumped them right in it with the FIA presumably) and therefore the team will now rally around Lewis’s cause.
Nando has apparently countered this statement saying he now feels very happy within the team and can’t see any reason why he won’t stay, and he will do his talking on track thank you very much. Followed quickly by half a dozen press releases saying that he can’t quite believe all the garbage being written in the press about him, he is on speaking terms with Ron Dennis and has always been (much to our chagrin) and that he doesn’t expect any first corner accidents involving him and that annoying Englishman, because they are both intelligent human beings. Presumably to be followed shortly after on Sunday, by giving Lewis a good brake-testing just to remind him who he is dealing with.
Phew! So with all these harsh words being bandied about we can only hope we are in for a very exciting weekend of racing, that’s if the drivers and team bosses remember to put their handbags away and get on with the business in hand of course!