January 2008


Here at FFN we had always thought the phrase ‘silly season’ was actually made in relation to the annual merry-go-round of rumours concerning the drivers market and whom would drive for which team in the following F1 season.

However, we have come to the startling realisation that perhaps it would be much more fitting to describe the annual and somewhat baffling/ludicrous rule and regulation changes imposed on the sport by the governing body, the FIA.

fia.jpgThis week the FIA has confirmed that the cost of Super Licenses for the 2008 season will increase significantly. Just in case anyone is unaware what one is, it’s an exorbitantly priced official scrap of paper granted from the FIA to a driver to allow him to compete in the sport.

According to some, the Super License is a method by which the governing body can regulate the quality of drivers taking part in the Formula 1 Championship, with those deemed not to meet the ‘standard’ being refused entry into the ‘Pinnacle of Motorsport’. Suffice to say this hasn’t stopped some truly atrocious driving by some in the past.

What is particularly baffling about the price increase, is that the initial cost of the Super License is going up to 10,000 Euros, with an additional 2,000 Euro increase for every point said F1 driver scored in the previous years championship. Apparently the huge price increase is going to be used by the governing body to improve safety in the sport (and not salmon sandwiches honestly).

Now, perhaps I’m not grasping the fundamentals of the subject. But surely the person with the most points in a championship year generally is the person who has crashed or written his car off the least amount of times, and hence has gone on to get his hands on all the shiny pots.

We are therefore at a loss to understand why the most successful driver should be made to pay more than everyone else does. Especially in comparison with a few back-markers that spend every available minute known to man parking their cars into crash barriers and getting their monies worth out of the race stewards on a Sunday afternoon.

As a result it would seem current WDC Kimi Raikkonen will be paying the most for his Super License for 2008, reportedly the Finn will be paying 230,000 Euros for his two minor infractions into the barriers in Monaco and Monza during 2007. Of course such a princely sum could have been understandable if the Kimster had single handedly demolished the Casino in Monte Carlo while he was at it.

crane-assistance-for-a-small-price.jpgMeanwhile second placed man in 2007, Lewis Hamilton will be paying 2,000 Euros less than Kimster, which doesn’t really seem all that fair considering the few thousand tonnes of gravel and crane hire involved during his championship campaign, which apparently doesn’t come cheap. (and before all of Lewis’s fans start turning up at my abode with burning torches – I am pulling your leg).

In other News, FIA President Max Mosley is reportedly annoyed with Toyota’s Jarno Trulli. No, it isn’t because the Italian forgot to post a few bottles of his vintage wine in the direction of the governing body, but because of some comments Jarno has been making of late in the media.

You may remember last week Jarno was throwing accusations about left, right and centre suggesting that other F1 teams were illegally employing methods in their cars to enable the vehicles to perform some sort of Launch Control outside of the Standard ECU.

jarno-looks-for-the-launch-control.jpgA few days ago in London, Max Mosley stepped into the debate. Max apparently suggested that some people do indeed have a rather vivid imagination, and should stop eating cheese before they go to bed (or something along those lines), otherwise its hardly surprising they are seeing things that are not really there. On this occasion, it would seem Max has run out of nicknames to call people, so we have written to the FIA offering our services for a small sum (and a round of those sandwiches).

I digress. According to Max, firstly it would be impossible for teams to circumvent the ECU and secondly if reports are to be believed the FIA are installing spies in all the F1 car cockpits to keep an eye on what the teams are doing. Which is a little surprising considering the amount of meetings called last year in an attempt to stamp out the unsavoury practice in the first place. Perhaps the FIA motto is if you can’t beat them, join them.

Anyway, according to El Presidento Jarno’s fears are somewhat unfounded. No doubt though, it’s going to be a tight squeeze inside the 2008 cars if the drivers are going to be perching on the knee of a seasoned espionage professional throughout the race weekend.

Stay tuned for more fakeferrarinews coming soon….

ferraris-flying-finn1.jpgThe fourth and final day of F1 testing at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo in Valencia Spain, bathed in good weather witnessed a duel between the sports two Finns for final honours at the top of the timesheets.

The Kim-bot in his Ferrari just managing to beat ‘Happy Heidi’ in his McLaren by a tenth of a second with his best effort of the day being a 1.11.189, all while continuing his non-stop verbal effusions concerning the F2008 since it’s initial launch back at the beginning of January. Suffice to say here at FFN we are delighted to hear Kimi is very happy with his new car, but we are concerned that if he carries on this uncharacteristic chattering nineteen to the dozen without pausing for breathe, he’ll be knackered by the season opener in Melbourne.

Ickle Felipe secured the 3rd spot of the day for the Scuderia (and we don’t mean pimples because he clearly doesn’t look old enough to suffer that fate yet), with Nakajima’s Williams again demonstrating good pace and squeezing out Spain’s favourite driver of the week Lewis Hamilton for fourth place.

The day generally witnessed more red flags than you’d find at a bullfight, and when you couldn’t see a red flag or a Red Bull for that matter, there were a fair few mechanical breakdowns out on track. Which seemed to amuse the locals no end if the raucous roars were anything to go by. Nelson Piquet, Sebastien Vettel, Giancarlo Fisichella and Lewis Hamilton all suffered various attacks of the technical gremlins during the session.

When out of the car, Lamppost Lewis was on the receiving end of a few verbal attacks from the strongly vocal partisan Spanish crowd, who had come armed with banners and posters (and probably a few pitchforks as well) demonstrating their support for Alonso. And taking plenty of opportunity to denigrate and have a bash at the Englishman and his potty training progress, amongst other less mentionable subjects.

spanish-favourite-lamppost-lewis.jpgNot one to miss a golden opportunity to have the last word, the McLaren star was last seen giving an interview to the media suggesting he had learned a valuable lesson last season. According to the Englishman, he would be using the behaviour of his former team-mate to influence his future conduct in the sport.

Obviously we are pretty pleased to hear this, as we had thought on seeing Alonso’s departure from McLaren we had seen the last of toys coming out the pram, childish spats across the garage, slinging your racing helmet about in a fit of temper and much door slamming to boot. So its wonderful to see that Lewis will carry on that fine tradition for the foreseeable future.

Nelson Pretty-boy Piquet Jnr resumed testing duties for the Renault team, his first day in the R28 was spent acclimatising to the car, carrying on where Fernando had left off and working on finding an optimal set-up. Not to mention taking every opportunity to check he was still as good-looking as he was five minutes ago in his wing mirrors.

Down at Honda things were not looking too happy or good looking either for that matter. After enduring a dismal 2007 campaign with an excessively temperamental car, hopes were initially high within the team that things would indeed be better for 2008.

The RA108 was subsequently launched on track on Wednesday, and thus far seems to be just as much off the pace as its predecessor. With Jenson Button careering around in it 2.5 seconds per lap behind the pacesetters during the final day of testing.

hondas-cat.jpgTeam-mate Rubens Barrichello struggled to put a positive spin on things when talking to the media, suggesting there wasn’t much to say about the new car as yet (which we take to mean nothing that can be reported without the use of some rather candid language). Rubens adding that the small problems they were encountering were relatively normal when shaking down a cat (According to Autosport). Yes, you read that correctly.

Which probably explains a few things, because we presume cats don’t like being shaken down at the best of times, and usually the only time you can get one to go fast is if you put a large dog on its tail threatening to eat it. The rest of the time they just sit there and snore their heads off.

Ross Brawn did say he liked a challenge. Will he finally manage to rid Honda of their strange animal fixation? First it was elephant ears…now its cats…whatever next armadillo’s, pot-bellied pigs, sloths? And will Honda finally manage to save up enough pocket money to actually pay for a paint-job before the season starts?

Only time will tell…

There is an old saying lurking somewhere in the ether, that states it is unwise for a writer to own a cat, if he or she ever intends to get any writing done. Suffice to say true to form my obstinate feline friend is not stupid, the minute I sit down at the desk to write and the persistent little beggar plonks herself down on the keyboard or mouse and wont budge for love nor money nor any amount of tasty treats.

So I hope that sometimes if I’m a bit late in posting, you understand it’s because I’ve been involved in a battle royale with an 8 month old furball for possession of a few plastic keys, and more often than not I’m the one who comes off the worst.

heidi-in-action.jpgYesterday was the third and penultimate day of testing for the Formula 1 fraternity at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo in Valencia Spain.

On this occasion, McLaren’s flying Finn ‘Heidi’ Kovaleinen topped the timesheets at the end of the session with a best time of 1.11.000, nearly six tenths of a second faster than Ferrari’s ickle Felipe, and 8 tenths faster than the Kimi-bot.

The session itself was fairly uneventful, with only STR’s Sebastien Vettel suffering a technical glitch, and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa stopping out on track from an impromptu scenic stroll back to the paddock. Apparently this was a result of a temperature sensor failure and not just because the Brazilian fancied topping up his tan.

The Williams team continued with good pace, with new recruit Nakajima ending the day in 5th spot ahead of Double World Champion Fernando Alone-so.

After the initial excitement at their car launch, things seemed to have gone slightly off the boil for the BMW-Sauber team. Bearded German wonder Nick Heidfeld has admitted that the team are struggling currently with the balance of their car, which probably explains a thing or three about their dismal showing so far in testing.

We can’t help but feeling that next time the team might want to concentrate more on whether the darned thing can go ok in a straight line before going hell for leather employing more fancy wings and giblets than you’d find at the average local poultry farm. Have Honda taught the F1 fraternity nothing?

Meanwhile here at FFN we had to go and lie down in a dark room all afternoon when we heard some very unlikely and startling news from within the pitlane.

happy-webber-apparently.jpgAccording to some reliable sources, Red Bull’s resident old woman Mark Webber was claiming to be happy, for a change. Immediately we had to dispatch a reporter to find out what the deuces was going on, had Red Bull been forcing too much of their taurine-packed beverage down his throat with a funnel?

After his first initial outing in the RB4 (which looks by the way remarkably similar to the RB3 just with a slightly different shade of paint) apparently the Antipodean has claimed to be perfectly happy with the car and encouraged with the reliability and speed of his new charger. Mind you it can’t have been worse than the RB3 in 2007, which spent more time having technical glitches than Bernie Ecclestone does counting his money, or Max Mosley trading insults with former World Champions for that matter.

Naturally we are not counting chickens before they have hatched, and are holding out to see if the RB4 can last a race distance without sending the Aussie Star off into a mad rant and handbag slinging frenzy. Not that we’d blame him.

As is the natural order of things, if one person is happy you can rest assured some poor soul elsewhere is less than so. This time Toyota’s Jarno Trulli was going at it like a rabid Jack Russell with a bone. The Italian according to some media reports, has been throwing accusations about left, right and centre concerning the legality of other teams cars.

According to Jarno, some F1 teams have found a way around the new standard electronic control unit and found a way to manipulate the car’s launch procedure. This meaning that some cars would apparently be able to get off the start line faster than others.

jarno.jpgJarno supposedly telling F1 publication Autosprint yesterday; “I’m not saying someone’s cheating, even though we’ve received some conflicting information at Toyota,” followed by…

“But having analysed the behaviour on the track both now and in the tests in December, the changes between them are many – and in several cases suspicious.”

Presumably the Toyota driver is yet to discover what the accelerator pedal is used for, which might account for why he has been trundling around like a snail for the past decade.

One has to wonder if Toyota would actually recognise a fast starting car if they saw one, given their propensity for going backwards down the grid faster than former F1 star Juan Pablo Montoya can eat a cheeseburger.

In other news, you will be pleased to know that afore mentioned ickle Felipe has informed us all he will not be changing in his bid to become world champion. Which is just as well, because we rather like our ickle Felipe the way he is, and wouldn’t change his slightly erratic off-track excursions, verbal fisticuffs with Spaniards and chubby little chops for the world.

Its not like any previous World Champions made the effort is it? As far as we know Fernando still has a penchant for making conflicting press statements and then claiming he didn’t, Kimi still mumbles alot, and Michael Schumacher is…. still Michael Schumacher last time we checked at any rate.

con-cordero.jpgOur last thought of the day concerns Ferrari’s President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. No, no he hasn’t popped out and started benevolently sharing his forthright views with the world again, in fact things seem to have gone strangely quiet on the Maranello front and we think we might have accidentally stumbled across the sinister reason why.

Imagine my dismay early this morning when on being awoken by my feline furball and going downstairs to feed it, I made a shocking discovery amongst the cat food.

On pulling out a pouch of Whiskas Kitten Food I noticed the following word emblazoned on the front in big bold type…. “Con Cordero”….

Has our feisty family pet really just eaten the Ferrari President? Wouldn’t he be a bit tough, old and gristly for some tastes? Stay tuna’d to find out.

Valencia Day 1

On Monday two more F1 teams launched their respective cars for the upcoming 2008 season. This time it was the turn of Renault or Renooo as they are affectionately known, and Williams, both teams choosing to launch their challengers on track in Valencia Spain.

Although we are reliably informed Renooo will be having a shindig with buck fizz, canapés and a few corporate crusty old dudes standing about waxing lyrical about the car at a later date.

a-foggy-day-in-valencia.jpgUnfortunately as is always the case in Spain, the weather decided to get the upper hand for the affair, as thick fog shrouded the track keeping Renooo’s prodigal son Fernando Alonso confined to the team garage for the morning. This evidently providing plenty of time for him to start work in earnest on his CV for the next employer he wants to fall out with then.

Although the thick fog was a little disheartening for the waiting F1 hacks who were eager to catch a glimpse of the R28, the local populace were apparently chuffed to bits they had been given a temporary reprieve from the impending retina-burning paint scheme that was about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting mankind.

the-renooo.jpgAt lunchtime the weather abated a little, allowing the much-anticipated R28 out of the garage for the first time. On initial inspection it was interesting for all to see that the Renooo had adopted a nose wing bridge configuration thingey, similar to that sported last year by the McLaren and now seemingly the last fad amongst the teams.

In fact so far this year we have notice how alike some of the cars look, all apart from McLaren who aren’t allowed to look like anybody lest they have to forego this years pocket money for being copycats.

Fernando Alonso then took the R28 out on its inaugural laps to see what it was all about and to decide whether it was a dog with three legs or a thoroughbred stallion on four wheels.

Monday also saw the launch of Williams car the FW30 (after Frank Williams – but we can safely assure you he isn’t 30 by a long shot). According to recent reports in the media, the name incorporates how many years Sir Frank has been in the sport or some such trivia (sorry I wasn’t paying attention Alonso’s tea cosy put me off).

The Williams team will be incorporating six different interim paint jobs on their title charger this season to commemorate some of the golden moments during the team’s history in the sport. We are wondering if Michael Schumacher’s assault on the car’s suspension in Jerez in 1997 is one of them.

the-hulk-and-the-fw30.jpgAt the moment the Williams car is sporting a midnight blue metallic effect, which looks rather nice, well anything will look nice in contrast to that hideous orange on the Renooo. Presumably with a few strategically placed star constellations slapped on, it will be very useful for sneaking up on rivals in night races, leaving them completely unaware of being lapped.

Newly appointed test driver Nico Hulkenberg (The Hulk) was on hand to put the Williams through its initial paces, because ‘Britney Rosberg’ was rumoured to be unavailable due to hair washing commitments.

By the end of the first day, the Rookie Monster (Nando) came out on top in front of his home crowd much to their delight. Strangely much ado was made about the fact that Alonso on his maiden day in the R28 had managed to beat a rookie with no more than a few hours experience under his school shirt. Here at FFN we are a little bemused to see that Alonso’s stock seems to have sunk as low as the titanic, considering they have to make a song and dance every time he beats any snotty nosed kid who has just fallen off a go-kart.

Valencia Day 2

The second day of testing at the Circuito Ricardo Torno witnessed the Ferrari duo of Felipe Massive and Kimster Iceman storm to the top of the testing tables with a dominant performance. And all before they had strapped on any of their new aerodynamic appendages if our eyes can be believed.

ferrari-duo.jpgThe Ferrari team apparently concentrating on reliability and various set-up options for the day. Not to mention checking if they had all their crayons in place ready for the racing to commence, and keeping their beady eyes skyward lest the Regenmeister had been at a loose end and been unwittingly unleashing havoc (and not just from his wardrobe).

The surprise star of the day went to Nico Rosberg, who with his newly washed flaxen locks, secured the third fastest time of the event in his new Shiny Williams. Raising more than a few eyebrows down the paddock, but not Alonso’s whose permanently look like two slumbering slugs.

The McLaren duo of Happy Heikki and Pedro Pinko could only manage 4th and 5th respectively despite completing over 207 laps. Is it any wonder…I think after two laps of going around in circles I’d fall over with a bad headache, let alone 200 odd. We hope the team had a medical professional on standby in case they experienced a case of the wobblies on disembarkation.

Renault’s Fernando Alonso could only manage a 6th place in front of 35,000 of his home supporters, despite a last ditch attempt on low fuel to snatch away the lead spot from old sparring partner ickle Felipe. Fernando was summarily rewarded with a technical glitch in the engine department for his troubles, and some poor Marshall had to hop to attention and get his hose out (fire hose just in case your wondering where my seedy little mind was going with that one).

alex-wurz.jpgFor some strange reason unbeknownst to anyone but Honda, they sent out their newly appointed star test driver Alex Beanpole Wurz in last year’s planetary behemoth albeit after an ice age had its way with the map. Really is that any kind of way to welcome the new guy into the team? Will they be flushing his head down the toilet next for good measure? We can’t help but wonder if it would have been cheaper and quicker to send him around the local supermarket on a mobility scooter. No wonder the Austrian has reiterated his wish never to race again if that’s what he has to go on with. Poor man.

Apparently this testing malarkey continues tomorrow, where if I have recovered from the excitement of reading Max Mosley’s latest news and views, I shall continue to spout forth like Mount Etna.

Ciaooo for now.

It seems some people no matter how much trouble they are in, just can’t seem to put a sock in it for their own good, and take every available opportunity to spout off hot air faster than Lewis Hamilton’s hairdryer.

im-going-to-tell-you-a-little-story.jpgOne such person being Nigel Stepney (Ferrari’s former storyteller with a part-time hobby for sabotage on the side). Just when the dust was finally settling, Ron Dennis could just about go out in the street again without cabbages being thrown at him, and Jean Todt had stopped chewing his fingernails down to his elbows and ranting and raving like a madman….Nigel pops out of the woodwork once more to stir the proverbial hornets nest with a big stick.

One has to wonder why Nige has decided to speak out now giving us yet another version of his side of events after being quiet for so long, could it possibly be to promote an upcoming work of fiction perchance? I know! Call me cynical, while I’m going to start calling him Jackie Collins.

This time Nige has decided to kindly impart yet more of his “reliable” testimony of what really happened in the Spygate saga. Going back to the beginning…

Firstly we were to understand Nige was on holiday and hadn’t got the first clue what all the fuss was about. Later on we were entertained with stories of a mysterious insider in Maranello who was attempting to frame Nige by sending out confidential top secret documents to his former friends via the postal service.

Before long we were worrying about dead bodies apparently hidden somewhere inside the Ferrari Factory about to jump out at any given second to scare us all witless. Then we were enthralled by tales of high-speed car chases and mysterious strangers hounding Nige out of Europe.

Later still we were informed that actually the postal service must have broken down and Nige delivered the secret 780 page dossier of bedtime reading himself to Mike Coughlan. At this point we were assured via Nigel that Mike “wouldn’t use it so don’t worry”. Look how that one turned out.

We can only suppose the 300 odd text messages informing McLaren of the day to day business of Ferrari between March and June 2007, including what was on the breakfast menu weren’t to be used either.

i-could-swear-i-left-it-here.jpgThe current gospel according to Nige is that he gave the Ferrari dossier to Mike under the misguided illusion it would entice Mr Coughlan away from McLaren. They would then embark on setting up a new group of like-minded technicians (Presumably with Nige playing the role of Robin Hood albeit in red tights not green).

This band of merry light-fingered men would then go to work for a new team, allegedly. How Kimi Raikkonen’s pit strategies come into the equation we haven’t quite figured out yet, unless of course Nige was planning to set up his own pitcrew for the Finn’s benefit… But could they be trusted not to make off with the wheels and Kimi’s prized bottle of Finlandia Vodka when he wasn’t looking?

According to Nige he never intended for any of the information to be disseminated throughout McLaren, and is shocked and appalled by his friend’s apparent lack of moral values and integrity. Which is the Pot calling the Kettle if ever we heard it. Whatever next? Adrian Newey calling Ron Dennis a slaphead? Max Mosley calling Jackie Stewart opinionated? Flavio Briatore calling Bernie Ecclestone an old gasbag?

But don’t feel too bad for Nige, he has told us that he doesn’t feel responsible for what happened at McLaren. Although this does lead us to wonder whom on earth is responsible if he isn’t. Nigel though is not that bothered by the fact he won’t be working in F1 again.

Which is just as well, because we don’t think the Italian Prison Service currently has a Motorsports Division on account they might accidentally provide the inmates with get away vehicles. Although the paint scheme on the Renault is a crime all in itself…but I’m digressing.

mi5.jpgBefore we get a little bit ahead of ourselves and start booking visiting rights and putting crowbars in cakes, we understand that the Englishman has just been appointed as Director or Race Technologies at on-board camera company Gigawave.

Amongst one of their many motorsports activities, Gigawave will be running a team in the FIA GT championship this season.

And should they not do so well, they can always resort to spying on their rivals via the on-board camera footage. Honestly Nige is wasted as an author and motorsports bod, he should be employed at MI5.

If you follow Formula 1 as closely as we do, then no doubt you will have already heard plenty of bleating this season emitting from various experienced F1 drivers with regards to the loss of electronic aids such as traction control.

David Coulthard, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa have all raised their concerns about safety with regards to driving in wet weather conditions with the absence of the electronic aid.

Coulthard who is the head of the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers Association) has been very vocal on the issue and has pointed out that in inclement weather conditions such as those in Fuji, Japan last season would make driving even more difficult and dangerous without such driver assistance.

Hailing originally from the Isle of Blighty where it seems to spend more time raining than it doesn’t, you’d think it would be a doddle for the Red Bull star – well apparently not. Just ask Michael Schumacher.

According to the F1 veteran, in such conditions the low ground clearance of an F1 car effectively turns it into a boat. This then leads to much aquaplaning and ending up going off half-cocked in all directions, especially if your team have forgotten to attach two paddles and a life jacket for your convenience. Not to mention the additional safety aspect of watching out for Ross Brawn trying to board your vehicle for an impromtu fishing expedition at the drop of a hat.

We are a little baffled how this aquaplaning and sliding off in all directions is purely the fault of the weather, as some drivers don’t seem to keep it on track on a good day (not that we will mention any names lest we end up getting sued) but what would we know.

Apparently DC informs us, that it’s not just him going on and on like a never-ending record. According to David all of the drivers have the same concerns, it’s just some of them are too shy to pipe up lest we think they are a bit girly and soft (perish the thought). Mind you with all the hair-pulling and handbag slinging that goes on in an average week in the paddock, here at FFN we had assumed they were a bunch of girls anyway.

This week Ferrari’s Finnish World Champion Kimi Raikkonen has stepped into the debate with a simple and unique solution that should put an end to all the fuss.

Despite recent uncharacteristic bouts of verbiage, the Kimster has kept it short and sweet. What then were his pearls of wisdom on the subject? Apparently the Kimster reportedly remarked “For me it is not more dangerous” and “If anybody else doesn’t like it they can always go and do something else”. Sage career advice indeed.

Next week it is rumoured Kimi will be delivering a short seminar to a packed audience on what to do if you don’t like your boss and can’t stand your team-mate, followed by a short induction on how to use a snow plough. We wonder how that will go.

michaels-fashion-statement.jpgThe penultimate day of testing at Jerez in Spain on Tuesday saw the return of Renault’s prodigal son Fernando Alonso to the fold. The Double World Champion was spotted strolling into the paddock wearing what can only be described as his grandmother’s tea-cosy on his head.

We are a little bit concerned that Fernando has been taking fashion advice from 7 times World Champion Michael Schumacher, in the fervent hope the more ridiculous the outfit the more successful he will be in his chosen profession. One only has to look to Michael’s latest offering to realise all the money in the world, a vast collection of shiny pots and a giant ‘schloss’ really cant buy you fashion sense.

Rumour has it Ferrari Team Boss Stefano Domenicali has ordered the Maranello based team to scour the inside of Kimi Raikkonen’s wardrobe for any eyeball offending checked shirts, silly hats or cowboy boots lest he start following suit.

But it would seem the knitted tea cosy worked its wonders, as Fernando managed to set the fastest time of the day out on track in the 2007 Renault much to the delight of the local fans. It’s purely coincidental that the fastest lap was secured on a new set of tyres and a very light fuel load, but we won’t let that detract from Alonso’s homecoming glory in the slightest, or from the multicoloured barnet topper.

kovaleinen-in-one-of-nandos-hats.jpgPresumably Fisichella and Kovaleinen will be wondering why on earth Fernando couldn’t have left that magical 0.6 seconds he took with him to McLaren, behind for their benefit. Kovy will have to resignedly make do with accepting Nando’s unwanted cast-offs for the second season in succession. Poor Boy. Fisichella no doubt will to be too preoccupied with team mate relations and dressing up like a man servant at Force 1ndia, to worry what Nando and Renault have been doing in his absence.

Now all season long in 2007 you may have noticed a little bit of a tabloid news war (on the scale of the armada) going on between Spain and England, over their respective F1 stars. Nary a week went past without a flurry of stories being printed on either side making outlandish claims and counter claims and generally throwing insults about like a bunch of fractious five year olds at a tea party.

Suffice to say, the waiting Spanish Media at Jerez could not wait to shoot down the pitlane and demand to know from Lamppost Lewis his reaction to Nando’s fastest lap. The British Star was left looking somewhat bemused when a rather persistent journalist demanded to know on at least two separate occasions what Lewis had thought about Nando’s time.

Naturally F1 drivers are a rather egotistical bunch on the whole, only used to talking about their favourite subject – themselves. So when some sneaky F1 hacks slips a question in about someone else, its no wonder they are left floundering about like a mackerel out of water. “What do I think to Nando?” erm “Who is Nando?”.

Lewis managed to just about mask his surprise and trot out “Good for him”, whilst obviously wondering if he was going to be plagued by a thousand and one questions on Nando for the rest of his natural life. Here at FFN we are thinking perhaps Lewis might want to publish a book on the subject entitled ‘1001 interesting facts about Nando-chops, including his favourite toothpaste’ and have done with it.

gravel-trap-take-2.jpgOn the final day of testing, there was nothing much of interest to report, Toyota’s rookie Timo Glock topped the timesheets in a session mired by the inclement precipitous conditions, and Lewis was drawn in his metallic McLaren like a magnet into the gravel trap on two separate occasions.

Apparently Lewis commented that his two trips into the stony stuff were as a result of the loss of traction control and contact with a slippery surface. And honestly has nothing to do with circulating rumours that the Brit is considering purchasing himself a beach hut, windbreaker and barbeque set since it is his favourite spot on any circuit.

In other news emerging yesterday, McLaren could be in the Mire. German Publication Auto Motor und Sport is rumoured to have suggested that Mercedes Benz are looking to buy out any of Ron Dennis’s remaining shares in the team and take control of the Woking base outfit.

It is thought that the German Automotive Giants (that’s not a football team by the way), are less than happy at the management of last season’s photocopying debacle that ended in McLaren being stripped of all their constructors championship points, fined $100 million and packed off to the end of the pitlane in disgrace.

the-ronster.jpg Unconfirmed speculation suggests that the Mercedes company is aiming to seize control of McLaren before the opening race in Melbourne Australia, and will be buying their own photocopying shop to ensure nothing like this happens again.

Where this leaves the Ronster, we haven’t got the first clue…but we are desperately upset about the far reaching repercussions of such drastic action. Who would we take the mickey out of if Ron goes? And who then would be the shining beacon of integrity in the sport? troubling times are ahead indeed.

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