Ant Davidson

After a calamitous opening round to the Formula 1 season in Melbourne Australia, where everything that could go wrong did go wrong, the boys from Maranello vowed to bounce back and prove themselves once more in the stifling humidity of Sepang Malaysia.

Going into the race weekend, both Ferrari boys (ickle Felipe and the Kimbot) demonstrated a strong pace in free practice, but it remained to be seen if that dominance would translate into qualifying and race pace.

Would the F2008 manage to go one weekend without having a temperamental technical hissy fit? And would Ferrari’s driving duo manage to break the habit of spinning around like a bunch of ballerina’s after too many M&M’s?

qualifying-saturday.jpgVery soon it became evident that the shambolic shenanigans of Oz were an uncharacteristic one-off for Ferrari, with Felipe and Kimi trading fastest sector for fastest sector in qualifying to ensure a front row lock-out for the Maranello outfit for Sunday ahead of their main archrivals McLaren.

However, a slight mishap at the end of the qualifying session robbed the viewing public of a straight shoot out between the rival teams off of the starting grid.

It was judged that the McLaren duo whilst coasting around in fuel saving snail mode and admiring the scenery (not to mention themselves), had impeded the fastest flying lap of BMW-Sauber’s Quick Nick and Renault’s Fernando ‘I’m an FIA frequenter’ Alonso.

As per the FIA rulebook if you get caught impeding another drivers qualifying lap, then it’s a slap on the hand and back five spaces on the snakes and ladders board. And so it proved, within hours of the qualifying session the race stewards had demoted the unhappy pair back to 8th and 9th on the start grid, further compounding McLaren’s misery for the weekend. However much to the delight of some sections of the tifosi.

The Race

As Sunday dawned, even the inclement weather that had been predicted seemed to behave itself (much to ickle Felipe’s relief) leaving us with the exciting prospect of an entertaining dry race and hopefully a 1-2 finish for the Maranello Squad. But if the opening round of the season was anything to go by, then it doesn’t do to start counting your chickens too early or remaining drivers for that matter.

kimi-and-felipe-fight-for-first-corner.jpgAs the five red lights went out signalling the start of the afternoon’s proceedings, both of Ferrari’s driving duo got off to a decent start battling it out for supremacy in the first corner.

The Kimster briefly snatched the lead off his team-mate, only for the feisty little Brazilian to take no cheek off the Finn (WDC or not) and snatch the lead back from him just seconds later.

Meanwhile 3rd placed man Quick Nick Heidfeld had a disastrous start off the grid, losing several places from the get go to watch team mate Kubica, Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovaleinen, David Coulthard and Fernando Alonso all go sailing past him serenely on the first lap. Undoing all the work he had put in with the race stewards the previous evening.

Torro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais meanwhile appeared to have boiled his brain in the stifling Sepang heat, forgot what he was supposed to be doing and subsequently spun his car straight into the gravel trap. Race over before it’s even begun then.

Lucky Lewis got off to a great straight making up 4 places right from the start line, only to find himself stuck behind the Red Bull of Antipodean Mark Whingebag Webber, which was going to happen quite a lot throughout the afternoon if he didn’t know it yet.

Meanwhile further down the grid Williams’ ‘Captain’ Nico Rosberg and Toyota’s Timo Glock entangled, leaving the Williams star with no front wing (it’s in the gravel trap Nico!) and both drivers had to recover to the pits to repair the resulting damage.

Unfortunately Timo had to retire, and Nico was left to rejoin the racetrack albeit trailing around in last place behind Super Aguri’s Ant Davidson. We do hope Nico does haven’t this kind of incident whilst flying that airbus!

coulthard-in-a-sandwich.jpgJust a few laps into the race and Formula 1’s elder statesman (or old fart whichever you prefer) David Coulthard was being harried by Renault’s Fernando Alonso and BMW-Sauber’s Wookie Quick Nick. Before the Scot knew what was happening he was suddenly the Haggis in the middle of a Heidfeld/Alonso sandwich on the straight, with Quick Nick stealing the place off him, shortly followed by Fandango.

In fifth place meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton was being harangued and harassed by Toyota’s Jarno Trulli, the Brit appearing to struggle with pace despite having superior machinery and having to fight off the charge of the Trulli-train (who for once was actually having a good race and not falling asleep in the cockpit).

By lap 16 both of the Ferrari’s were scuttling nicely away at the front and had come up to lap backmarker Nico Rosberg.

On the following lap ickle Felipe who was leading the race up until this point shot into the pitlane for his first of two proposed pitstops. This released the Kimbot on track, to put in some storming sector times while his team-mate was admiring how handsome his pitcrew looked in their little red overalls. Well they do!

A lap later the Kim-bot shot down the pitlane for his first scheduled pitstop, and out again like a rocket rejoining the track in second place ahead of Brazilian poppet ickle Felipe much to his chagrin. Leaving the popular Polish BMW-Sauber driver Robert Kubica to lead the race from the front.

pitstop-pandemonium.jpgTwo laps later the first McLaren driver was called in for their first scheduled pitstop, on this occasion it was Lewis. Unfortunately just to compound the already torrid weekend the McLaren team were having, the right front wheelnut refused to budge, and the Englishman lost in the region of 15 seconds track time while his pitcrew maniacally fumbled the old tyre off and the new front right into place.

In the intervening time, we are to understand that Lewis quite fancied a beer, something which the media later seized upon.

Subsequently the British Media lamented the fact that their poor pin-up had to make do with driving without any drinking water (did he spill it into the footwell and all over his smelly socks – we want to know).

Not the least bit known for their sensationalist headlines…by Monday Lewis had not only been subjected to thirst and dehydration but also water torture, rickets, beri-beri, ebola and god knows what other afflictions and still survived. What a man.

We can’t help but wonder if next week we will be duly informed by said same Media that Lewis is responsible for the resolution of global conflicts and world poverty in his spare time, and thus would explain why he can’t find the time to join the GPDA (grand prix driver’s association).

poor-thirsty-lewis.jpgThe Spanish media obviously taking a completely different meaning altogether from Lewis’s beverage related comments, by suggesting his comment about fancying a beer to actually be a sarcastic comment relating to how rubbish his pitcrew are or something similar.

Unless there is some unhitherto reported secret pitlane language we don’t know about, we can only scratch our heads in confusion about how Spanish Motorsports publication Marca could put two and two together and come up with 29. It’s not like they have a reputation for this sort of thing, is it?

A lap later BMW-Sauber’s race leader Robert Kubica came in for his first pitstop, releasing the Kimbot into the race lead for the first time that afternoon.

Meanwhile Jarno Trulli having somewhat of a storming afternoon for a change, was now out on track harassing the other McLaren driver Heikki Kovaleinen, had Toyota put some class B medication into his drinking water or a rocket under him?

Back on track after his pitstop pandemonium, Lewis was once again behind Red Bull’s Mark Webber and losing time as a result, the Brit struggling in vain to get past the Red Bull but was unable to do so. Diddums.

felipe-out-of-the-race.jpgShortly after the first round of pitstops had been completed, Ferrari’s ickle Felipe was trailing team-mate the Kimbot by something like 4 seconds. At this point in proceedings the little Brazilian clipped a kerb in turn 7 and as a result spun the car in turn 8 bedding his F2008 straight into the gravel trap, from whence he could not recover to the track.

Unfortunately since crane assistance is now outlawed by the FIA, the little poppet’s race was over and he had to scamper back to the Ferrari garage hanging his head in shame.

This second disastrous weekend in a row for the Brazilian star has sparked a whole siege of rumours about his imminent exit from the Maranello Squad, with just about everyone in the paddock apart from Max Mosley being touted as a replacement.

Later Fernando Alonso who isn’t exactly making a secret of his displeasure at not driving at the sharp end of the grid this season in his Renoo, commenting it is natural that speculation is touting him as a replacement for Felipe at Ferrari (he wishes). This is despite the fact Torro Rosso’s Sebastien Vettel is also rumoured to be heading for the second seat. It could be a tight squeeze.

Of course this is all news to Ferrari, who are standing by their man and saying there is no need to panic and we will undoubtedly see the troubled Brazilian return to form in Bahrain (or otherwise he will be taken out back tied to a lamppost, force fed the Kimbot’s rocket fuel against his will and given forty lashes with Luca di Montezemolo’s tongue).

kimis-pitboard.jpgMeanwhile before I go off topic completely, back on track at this point Ferrari’s flying Finn the Kimster was already somewhere in the region of 22 seconds ahead of next placed man Robert Kubica.

Unconfirmed rumours suggesting that the Kimster wasn’t even going as fast as he could have, and by this point had taken to playing Sudoku on his Nintendo DS in the cockpit to keep himself awake.

Poor Felipe tramped back to the paddock on foot only to be met by a horde of waiting hacks demanding to know what had happened, the forlorn little mite admitted to nothing, despite Ferrari suggesting they could see nothing on their telemetry to indicate any technical reason for the Brazilian stars impromptu spin.

Meanwhile now on Lap 37 the Kimbot was back in the pitlane for his second and final pitstop for the afternoon, gifting the lead of the race once more to Polish poppet Robert Kubica.

Just two laps after the Kimbot’s pitstop, the Ferrari engine in the back of Sebastien Vettel’s Torro Rosso blew, which must have been cause for concern for the Maranello outfit given the turn of event a week previously where both F2008’s had suffered a case of the engine gremlins.

We can only presume at this point the Ferrari pitwall were nervously crossing every available appendage, chewing off their fingernails and clock watching like no tomorrrow.

On lap 41, Nick Heidfeld and Fernando Alonso both came into the pitlane for their final stops of the afternoon, allowing Lewis Hamilton to be promoted to fourth in proceedings.

However, this advantage lasted just three laps, as Hamilton once more came into the pitlane for a beer and change of black round things. This time fortunately the pitcrew managed to perform their tasks without any pesky wheelnuts misbehaving allowing the Brit to get back on track and keep position over BMW-Sauber’s bearded wonder Quick Nick, but unfortunately not in front of the Trulli-train.

heikkis-pitstop.jpgThe following lap McLaren’s other driver Happy Heikki pitted, rejoining the race track in third place albeit six centuries behind fellow Finn Kimbot Raikkonen who was still leisurely dawdling around out front in a league all of his own, having to be occasionally prodded back into consciousness by his race engineer Chris Dyer.

Despite putting in some strong lap times after his final pitstop, and catching up with the Italian, Hamilton was unable to make up enough time to overhaul Toyota’s Jarno Trulli leaving the Brit to take fifth place in the race adding just a handful of points to his WDC tally.

Much to the delight of the tifosi, Kimi brought home the win for Ferrari with a superlative dominant performance ahead of BMW-Sauber’s Robert Kubica in second, and McLaren’s Happy Heikki in third.

While Ferrari were understandably chuffed to have a win under their belts following on from the previous week’s debacle, they were left rueing the fact it could have been 18 points and not 10 they could have taken away from the Malaysian GP.

Onto Bahrain then, where we hope Felipe can finally get it together and secure a win, and where we hope Ferrari have finally ironed out all their confusion over engines, ECU’s and everything else.

shock-horror-kimi-misses-mouth.jpgSlightly worrying for the Maranello squad though was an incident that occurred after the checkered flag, while the Kimbot was celebrating his win on the podium.

How many times have we ever witnessed the Kimbot miss his mouth when it comes to alcohol only to get it into his eye socket instead? I know worrying times indeed for Ferrari’s Electronics division, we can only hope they get this unfortunate malfunction ironed out pronto.

However, if they find themselves in dire need of some advice in this area, they need only look to McLaren. McLaren’s CEO and Team Principal Ron Dennis today confirming what we had suspected all along….that the Woking based team are a dab hand at taking their drivers apart and putting them back together.

According to Ron, this is exactly what they have done over the winter to new signing Happy Heikki, who if reports are to be believed (huge vat of sodium chloride at the ready) had arrived into the team from Renault almost a broken man after a difficult year in 2007.

We cant help but feel if their work on Fernando Alonso is anything to go by (yes that’s the one who is stuck in permanent team switching mode) then we had better keep our eyes peeled for the rest of the season for any emerging serious defects.

Forza Ferrari.

start-line-at-albert-park.jpgAfter much anticipation the Formula 1 season finally got underway this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix taking place in Albert Park, Melbourne. We defy even Nostradamus Lauda and his finely attuned powers of prediction to have known exactly what was to follow in what turned out to be a very exciting and dramatic action packed race (yes F1 – I know!).

The weekend started well enough for the boys from the Scuderia, with our favourite Finn the Kimster topping the timesheets in the first free practice session, but from there on in things began to go pear-shaped for the Maranello outfit and no doubt new Team Principal Stefano Domenicali will be rueing the day he forced Felipe Massa to throw away his lucky underpants.

In the afternoon’s free practice something mysteriously seemed to go wrong with the set-up of the F2008, and soon arch-rivals McLaren rivals were taking charge of proceedings led by Lucky Lewis and Happy Heikki.

On Saturday, the bad luck continued with the Kimster suffering an engine pump failure during the first of the qualifying sessions, which we take to mean as the drinking straw fell out of his rocket fuel bottle and into the footwell of the F2008, leaving the Finn limping back to the pitlane in frustration not to mention very thirsty.

Unfortunately even with a highly paid 7 times World Champion and Super Assistant on the Books, no will in the world could make the Kimsters vehicle get back to the pitlane to allow him to have the problem fixed. And thus under Parc Ferme rules the Kimster was not allowed to take any further part in qualifying proceedings relegating the World Champ to 15th spot on the grid for Sunday’s Race.

Meanwhile team mate ickle Felipe was suffering misfortunes of his own having to abandon his last flying lap in the final qualifying session due to encountering traffic, meaning that the plucky Brazilian was unable to get the temperature into his tyres for his last flying attempt. Unfortunately this meant Felipe could only manage to secure 4th spot on the grid behind Lucky Lewis, Polish Papal favourite Robert Kubica in his spiky porcupine and Happy Heikki in his first turn out for the McLaren team.

Still all was not lost. Yet.

On race day, as the grid formed it was evident that pitlane poppet and Ferrari Team Manager Luca Baldisserri had a cunning plan up his sleeve, as both Ferrari’s lined up on the grid wearing the softer of the two tyre compounds available to the teams, compared to most of their rivals who started on the harder round black things. Despite having higher degradation and wear rates than the harder compound, conventional wisdom suggests that the softer of the two would allow the drivers to make up places at the start of the race now that traction control has been banned from the sport.

felipe-heads-off-for-some-sight-seeing.jpgWhen the lights went out, true to form the Kimster rocketed up the grid from 15th into 8th place leaving rivals left, right and centre in his wake.

Things however, did not start so well for ickle Felipe, who despite managing to get into the first corner maintaining his fourth position had what can only be described as a blonde moment and immediately shot off onto the grass for an impromptu scenic diversion.

This temporary mishap meant by the time the little ray of sunshine had recovered, most of the grid had got past him and were scuttling off at a rate of knots ahead of him. Whether as a result of Felipe’s impromptu track departure or not, we can’t really say but Torro Rosso’s Sebastien Vettel and Force 1ndia’s Giancarlo Fisichella entangled on track putting a premature end to their respective races before things had even barely started. Thus bringing out the Safety car for it’s first of many tour of duty for the afternoon’s proceedings.

The fortuitous arrival of said safety car allowed our ickle Felipe to return to the pitlane to have his nose-cone replaced which had taken a bit of a scrape in his tete a tete with the barriers on the grass verge. At this point more retirements ensued with Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Ant Davidson all packing up shop early and heading off for an early shower and afternoon nap.

the-stress-caused-by-green-trousers.jpgAt least Ferrari Team Boss Stefano Domenicali could take comfort from the fact ex-Ferrari man Ross Brawn was having an equally torrid time in his first official outting as Head Honda Honcho not least because of the hideous green trews (trousers) he was forced to wear. We can only presume Honda have engaged the services of F1’s foremost fashionista and former World Champion Jackie Stewart over the winter months to design their team kit, and as a result half of Honda look like extras from Robin Hood – Men in Tights. And we thought McLaren had it bad.

At the end of the second lap the safety car peeled off into the pitlane leaving the McLaren boys to scamper off merrily into the distance, and Ferrari’s poor ickle Felipe returning yet again to the pitlane for some fuel (since some silly sausage at the FIA has banned refuelling during a SC period) and we can but hope a flea in his ear from his race engineer Rob Smedley.

While Lucky Lewis was pulling out a 2 second gap over Robert Kubica’s BMW/pineapple, our flying Finn was all over the back of Honda’s Rubens Barrichello but to no avail. The planetary themed car proved to be very fat indeed and quite difficult to overtake – hardly a surprise with all that G Force Planet Earth produces.

Finally some 16 laps later, the Kimster finally managed to overhaul the Honda putting in an audacious move, and immediately was able to set about putting in some fast laps in the race, however by this time race leader Lucky Lewis had been able to complete his first pitstop and his teammate Kovaleinen was now leading proceedings out in front.

Meanwhile ickle Felipe was struggling to get past the Super Aguri of Takuma Sato, and given the latter’s reputation for aggressive racing and happily punting off rivals into the gravel at the drop of a hat, we can’t help but sympathise with Massa’s predicament.

jarnos-retirement.jpgToyota’s Jarno Trulli at this stage came into the pits, pulled off his steering wheel in frustration and retired, presumably much to the relief of those out on track who actually wanted to spend the afternoon overtaking and falling off all over the place and not stuck in a customary Trulli tailback.

By all accounts Jarno is a lovely man, but here at FFN we do wonder how many years its going to take for him to manage to transfer his legendary single lap qualifying pace and string it together in a race type situation. Is it possible to teach an old dog new tricks?

Back on track Super Aguri’s Takuma Sato made a small mistake, which allowed both Felipe Massa and Williams Star Nakajima to take advantage and steam past. Nakajima’s team mate Britney (Rosberg) meanwhile was having a very decent race and had come into the pits with BMW’s Quick-Nick-Where’s-Chewbacca-Gone Heidfeld for a little bit of facial grooming and their first pitstop of the afternoon.

On the 21st lap McLaren’s Heikki Kovaleinen came into the pitlane for his scheduled pitstop, and just managed by the skin of his teeth to get back out on track ahead of his fellow rampaging Finn the Kimster who has been charging up the field like he had a rocket in his trousers and a point to prove. At this point only Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso and the Kimster had yet to make their first pitstops.

Not long after this, ickle Felipe had evidently had enough of being stuck behind the Red Bull of David Coulthard (and who can blame him – David did obviously) and stole up the inside of the RB4 causing a collision by driving into the side of David’s car which put paid to the Scotsman’s race.

felipe-and-davids-fisticuffs.jpgOn being interviewed later the Red Bull veteran blamed the Brazilian for the incident and suggested ickle Felipe should take full responsibility for the collision, which incidentally he didn’t, and DC suggested that he might have to pop along to Ferrari and give ickle Felipe a good hiding (or something along those lines but no doubt less polite). It remains to be seen if the Ferrari Star has since been on the receiving end of a good thrashing and required urgent medical attention, so we shall keep our eyes peeled next weekend at Malaysia for any tell-tale big sunglasses and bruised eyes in the paddock.

As a result of the incident between the Red Bull and the Prancing Horse the safety car yet again pulled onto the race track allowing the drivers to form up behind in close formation.

Much to the relief of the Renault team, race control ordered the reopening of the pitlane two laps later allowing Fernando Alonso amongst others to come in and refuel. According to rumours the Sparky Spaniard had been running on fumes, team Boss Flavio Briatore was having kittens on the pitwall (not literally you understand), and poor Nando was beginning to wonder if he’d have to get out and push.

kimi-visits-the-gravel-trap.jpgOnce the safety car had peeled off into the pitlane for a second time, the race was back on. Happy Heikki was giving a hard time to his team mate Lewis out front, and the Kimster for some reason known only to himself decided to try some distraction tactics at turn 3 by shooting past his fellow Finn, waving and smiling as he went and shot into the gravel trap demoting himself back down to twelfth spot in the process. By which point we can only imagine the Ferrari pitwall must have developed an epidemic of hair pulling, hand wringing and furious nail-biting of epic proportions with Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo no doubt on the verge of lobbing his television out of the window in frustration.

Just to compound Ferrari’s torrid afternoon, shortly after Kimi’s escapades in turn 3, ickle Felipe’s car limped to the end of its life with engine trouble putting paid to the Brazilians efforts for the afternoon. Much to our disappointment, but we are sure there might have been the odd Scotsman here or there who might have taken some delight in this tragic turn of events.

Finally the Kimster came in for his one and only pitstop. Back out on track the two McLaren’s were still leading proceedings ahead of Quick Nick, Britney, and ‘I’m better than Michael Schumacher honestly’ Barrichello. Torro Rosso’s Rookie Sebastien Bourdais at this point was still having a stirling drive in his maiden F1 Grand Prix despite all the chaos going off everywhere else.

Meanwhile Papal Polish Poker Player Robert Kubica struggled with the tyres on his car and was being hounded by Double World Champion Fernando Alonso, who really you don’t want breathing down your neck at the best of times especially given his propensity for throwing temperamental hissy-fits when he doesn’t get his own way.

kimsters-optimism-pays-off-again.jpgWhile Nando was lining up to put a move on the BMW, the Kimster decided to try his distraction tactics again this time on the Toyota of Timo Glock, Unfortunately the bold move by the Finn resulted in him spinning around like a milk bottle top on a doorstep while Timo carried on as usual in a straight line. By this point we were beginning to wonder if the real Kimi was still at home in bed snoring his head off and some imposter had snuck off for the afternoon with his F2008 for a spin (literally).

The second row of pitstops ensued for some of the top runners (Hamilton, Rosberg and Heidfeld) shortly followed by Timo Glock having a big accident at turn 12, the German’s car was launched off the grass into the air for an impromptu flying lesson. Luckily the only damage being done to his pride and the car.

carnage-in-the-honda-pitbox.jpgDown at Honda things went from bad to worse, with Rubens Barrichello in the pitlane carrying out an illegal attempt at refuelling under the safety car (as a response to Glock’s accident) followed by the Brazilian knocking down several of his pitcrew with the refuelling rig when the lollipop guy got a bit over-enthusiastic. Well if it’s good enough for Mr Schumacher….

A few laps later the pitlane was confirmed open by race control, which allowed Alonso and Kovaleinen to pit for fuel and tyres, it was then confirmed that Rubens would have to undergo a 10 second stop and go penalty for his illegal refuelling under the safety car period…not to mention for sending the green trouser brigade scattering like a bunch of skittles.

Once more the safety car driver pulled into the pitlane with the fervent hope of getting to actually sit down for a cup of tea and some cucumber sandwiches for a change, but before the poor mite could count all his fingers and toes and curse the demise of traction control, his blood pressure was given a thorough testing again as the BMW of Robert Kubica and the Williams of Nakajima entangled out on track leaving both drivers with damage to their noses (on the cars not their faces). Luckily for the safety car driver his services were not needed on this occasion, but poor Kubica had to retire due to the damage caused to his spiky porcupine.

Unfortunately Heikki Kovaleinen was caught out slightly by the incident between Kubica and Nakajima, giving Fernando Alonso the perfect opportunity to sneak past and steal his position on track. Meanwhile Rubens had to report to the pits to complete his ten second stop and go penalty.

kimsters-retirement.jpgElsewhere the day was going from bad to worse to even worse for the Maranello squad, with some strange sounds emitting from Kimi Raikkonen’s F2008. After a few laps it became evident to us all the strange tones pouring from the Ferrari were not a result of the Kimster singing his usual favourite Karaoke tunes in the cockpit but in fact engine trouble as he slowly limped around at the back of the field in the last points paying position. Shortly after the Kimster had to retire from the race, ending a disastrous afternoon for the team that had been touted by many as pre-season favourites and predicted to dominate in Albert Park.

At this point in the afternoon the Ferrari engine also to decided to go on the Torro Rosso of star Rookie Sebastian Bourdais (presumably in sympathy for Kimi’s), robbing the Frenchman of a better finish to his maiden Grand Prix, which up until this point had been a solid performance.

With 8 laps to go until the end of the race, McLaren’s Happy Heikki was still battling it out on track with the man he replaced in Ron Dennis’s affections, Nando Alonso. A small mistake on the main straight by the McLaren man allowed the Renault to sweep past again, wiping the smug smile firmly off the face of Retirement Ron on the pitwall.

the-happy-trio.jpgAfter what can only be described as a tense yet exciting afternoon of unpredicatable action and drama, Lucky Lewis swept home in commanding style to take the win for McLaren, shortly followed by Quick Nick and Britney to complete the top three drivers of the afternoon, while Ferrari were left to pick up the pieces.

But before all you tifosi despair, just bear in mind these words from our Presidente “I can’t wait for sunday to see the real Ferrari”. Well I expect you may remember what happened when he last uttered similar sublimal messages to the effect of wanting to see the real Kimi at the half way point in 2007.

So all is not lost, and even Ron Dennis has admitted you can never write Ferrari off and they will bounce back from this distastrous start to the season…and you know Ron….he is never wrong, allegedly.

Roll on Malaysia and Forza Ferrari.

After enduring a torrid season in 2007, struggling with a car that was as temperamental as a 14 year old and a stomach wrenching complexion to match, it would seem the Honda team have gone just slightly giddy.

we-are-going-to-win-arent-we-ross.jpgIf rumours are true, the Brackley based team is cock-a-hoop over the fact they have managed to snatch former Ferrari technical Director Ross Brawn from the clutches of Ferrari. (Let’s ignore for one moment the fact Ross has mentioned on more than one occasion he planned his escape from Maranello as far back as 2004 – perhaps he should have asked Nigel Stepney to smuggle him out it would have been quicker) Meanwhile Honda has now gone back to their old ways of counting chickens before they have hatched. 1,2, 3…

Honda CEO Nick Fry has gone on record recently as saying he sees no reason why the team will not be able to start off their 2008 campaign pretty much on a level with their performance at the end of the 2006 season. Theoretically there is nothing wrong with making such assumptions, but we can’t help wondering if Honda are putting foot firmly in mouth yet again by making the statements publicly before they have even got their new challenger out on the tarmac. After all at the beginning of 2007, they were predicting challenging for the championship…and look how that turned out. With Honda only managing to win one prize, that of most ridiculous paint job on a shopping trolley. If in doubt it’s best to stop crowing to all and sundry from the rooftops, as Ron Integrity Dennis will be able to tell you, lest you have to make a grovelling apology later on and really do look like a prize turkey (albeit a very bald one).

Here at FFN we can partially understand Honda’s enthusiasm at having Uncle-Cuddly-Bear-Banana-Man-Brawn whip them into shape, after all he did a decent job of sorting out those “irrational screaming hysterical Italians” down at Ferrari. But really we feel they would be better off concentrating on shaving off that alarming ginger bird’s nest that seems to have firmly ensconced itself on Jenson’s chin. After all that thing has got to have some negative effect not only on the car’s handling performance, but on the morale of the poor Mechanics that have to look at it weekend in and out. (At least Alonso’s raised a few giggles).

It remains to be seen if the Brackley team have finally got to grips with their wind tunnel gremlins and produced a better car for the 2008. One thing we can’t help pondering here at FFN, is whether some of Honda’s new found enthusiasm and cheery attitude could be a result of passing on their lame dog of a car for 2007 to the poor Super Aguri team, who will have to pay for the dubious pleasure. In which case we fully endorse Sato taking out just about every passing car he can in a destruction derby. We can only hope in the following days we may here some good news on behalf of the Super Aguri team, and hopefully find out if Ant Davidson has kept his race seat.

tadashi.jpgMeanwhile Ross Brawn apparently has a two-year plan for turning Honda’s fortunes around, which coincidentally is the same time limit Toyota’s Team Principal Tadashi Yamashina has been given before Toyota pull the plug and see their F1 plans go swirling down the toilet.

Despite the biggest budget of all F1 teams (most of which was presumably paid to the other Schumacher brother by mistake) the Toyota team have failed to impress in the 6 year history in F1.

Yamashina has confirmed that their efforts will be concentrated on improving in two areas: aerodynamics and operationally. According to recent reports, Toyota officials are claiming that their 2008 car will be 2.2 seconds faster – but they didn’t confirm if they meant faster than last years vehicle or faster than the warp speed in which the FIA slapped a libel law suit on an ill advised journalist for voicing his opinion. If FFN suddenly goes off air, please come and storm the basement of FIA headquarters in Paris – otherwise I could be forced to eat my own arm off.

Meanwhile Toyota’s Jarno Trulli has been quoted as saying that is he looking forward to driving against a challenging team mate for a change (Timo Glock). When asked if he was making a snide remark regarding his previous team mate Ralf Schumacher, the Italian refused to elaborate lest he incriminated himself. Rumours in the Schumacher camp are suggesing Ralfie is plotting a return to F1 in 2009 after a sabbatical (it didn’t harm Ross did it?) although we cannot ascertain if there is any truth in suggestions that Ralfie has petitioned big brother to buy him an F1 team just in case he can’t get in at Force 1 India.

Going back somewhat to the subject of toilets, Ferrari’s Nick Tombazis has recently moved to deny there has been any dissent in the Ferrari camp regarding their new Champ Kimi Raikkonen. According to Tombazis, there has never been any question marks over Kimi’s head (apart from when can he leave to get to the bar) and that Kimi although very quiet, when he does pipe up apparently says “significant things”. We only hope the significant things he is talking about include excellent technical feedback on the car and do not include detailed descriptions of his bowel habits, as mentioned some time ago at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2006.

a-vision-in-grey.jpgWorryingly, we have just heard some disturbing news regarding McLaren’s new charge Heikki Kovaleinen. The chirpy Finn has reportedly been seen with a pair of grey underpants on his head, walking around in circles in Woking, claiming that it was his “childhood dream to drive for McLaren”.

Additionally the poor mite is reported to be muttering about staying with the team long term and the possiblity of enjoying equal treatment to Lamppost Lewis. We really do hope this strange malaise lifts soon, otherwise we may be forced to send Professor Sid Watkins in to investigate…assuming he can fit inside McLaren’s tiny garages at the end of the pitlane of course.

Stayed Tuned….Part 3 coming soon.

Unless you have been very luckily sunbathing in the Maldives and a cajillion miles away from those infernal contraptions known as the TV set, you will no doubt be aware that this weekend just gone was the Italian Grand Prix.

Suffice to say it is terribly difficult to find any form of amusement from a difficult weekend that witnessed Ferrari getting a good drubbing on home turf by the McLaren team. Apart from the vague sense of enjoyment to be had from using your air-horn to deafen the McCheat fan in grey sat next to you, or watching Ron Dennis blub like a 6 year old girl when his team won. Presumably Ron was practising in earnest for this Thursday (Sept 13th) and the World Motorsport Council (I can live in hope).

The weekend began pretty much as it would continue, with the spying scandal dominating the attention of all. The grandstands of Monza Park were plastered with plenty of relevant banners and posters, presumably the tifosi venting their spleens on the subject…. Rather than one of our Nige’s advertising campaigns.


One such Banner reading “get your F2008 plans here” conveniently hung up within spitting distance of the McLaren pits should they have time to stop for a sandwich and to pop across the pitlane for a perusal.

Anyway before we get lost in the politics which will no doubt be a big feature of this week’s motorsport news we should perhaps actually talk about the on track action…well what there was of it.


With McLaren pretty much dominating the Monza test the week before, and much of the free practice sessions leading up to Saturday, it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Maranello Squad to get their cars on the front row of the grid.

In the morning free practice, Kimi Raikkonen did not help matters by sticking his car headfirst into the barriers at the entry to Ascari. Much debate then ensued as to whether the car had suffered some sort of mechanical failure or if in truth the Kimster had been caught napping again. Ferrari later confirming that Kimi had lost control of the car under braking on a bump in the road.

recovered-kimis-damaged-car.jpgUnconfirmed rumours from the pitlane later suggesting no one else could see this mysterious bump.

The truth of the matter (apparently) much to the embarrassment of the Ferrari team was that the Finn not used to actually finishing races let alone anything else from his time at McLaren, had dropped his road map in the footwell of the F2007, and as he bent down to retrieve it lest he got lost, he failed to notice a banana skin lying innocently in the road (presumably dropped there by Ross Brawn last year).

The team then had to set about changing the engine over to the T car chassis for the qualifying session to enable Kimi to go out again.

In qualifying Ferrari never quite seemed to have the pace of the McLaren team, as has been the case quite a lot this year. We can’t help but wondering if this is because McLaren are in possession of Ferrari’s magic bible, and the Ferrari team don’t seem to know their bottoms from their elbows without it, let alone which end of the car is which. So can they have it back please Mr.Ron?

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso stormed to a dominant pole ahead of his team-mate Lewis Lovechild, leaving Ferrari trailing in 3rd and 5th spot respectively. Not a good position to be stuck in really for Kimi, as being behind BMW-Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld on the grid would mean he wouldn’t be able to see much of the pit straight at all behind that voluminous facial fuzz.

italian-police-outside-mclaren.jpgThe McLaren team displaying dominant form despite apparently receiving a friendly visit from the Modena Magistrates who thought they’d pop in for a tour, a cup of tea and a friendly chinwag with the team prior to qualifying starting.

McLaren later issuing a press statement on Sunday declaring the move had been orchestrated to disrupt their on track preparations. Subsequently McLaren’s CEO Ron Dennis admitted that the magistrates had been “very polite and discreet”.

Presumably very alarming behaviour for the likes of Ron when your used to being under siege for being a bunch of ‘cheats’ and have your two drivers perpetually shouting the odds at each other across the garage and flouncing off in huffs every other weekend.

Down at Honda revisions to their planetary nightmare seem to have started paying off with Jenson Button for once making the top ten final shootout. Either that or the entire lack of gravity needed at Monza suited their hippy tree hugging earth dream better than usual.

Red Bull’s David Coulthard joined Ralf Schumacher in the previous GP winners hall of shame, after losing the back end of his car ahead of the first chicane in the first qualifying session putting paid to any further action for the afternoon.

Yet another disastrous qualifying session doing not much to further the F1 career of the other Schumacher brother, who would have us believe he is quite confident of keeping his seat for next year. Right pull the other one, last time we heard such twaddle it was from the mouth of Ron Dennis saying his team would be completely exonerated in the spying/letter writing debacle.

The Race

With the two McLaren’s locking out the front row for Sunday’s race, Ferrari had to do something to get back on terms with their bitterest rivals on race day to save a bit of face at home in front of their gloriously partisan fanclub. (Personally a packet of thumbtacks on their grid slots would have done the trick I feel).

monzathestart.jpgAs the lights went out Ferrari’s ickle Felipe Massa looked like he was going to snatch second spot off of Lovechild Lewis going into the first chicane, only for Lewis to have a go at punting Massa off track to get it back again.

As McLaren’s Nando (happy as Larry) Alonso lead Lewis, Flippin ‘ell Felipe, Beardy-chops and the Roll-mop chewing Snoozemeister around the opening lap, Red Bull’s David Coulthard yet again was off track this time parking his vehicle neatly in Curva Grande, apparently as a result of a front wing failure.

Here at FFN we are thinking it’s got to be worth going down the betting shop and put a bet on for both Red Bull’s to actually finish a race without a technical failure at some point. As the odds you’d get, going off their season’s reliability so far have to be pretty darned reasonable really. Perhaps if the team stopped drinking all that taurine and being so darned well jittery when they put the car together they might actually get to the end of a race? Just a thought.

As a result of Mr.Magoo’s neat parking trick at Curva Grande, the safety car was deployed giving the backmarkers a chance to catch up with the big guns at the front.

On lap 6 the safety car was brought in, and the ‘race’ was back on again.

felipe-rejoins-track-after-unscheduled-pitstop.jpgA few laps later ickle Felipe seemed to be driving around very slowly, initially we presumed he had slowed down and was looking for his dummy lost somewhere out on the Parabolica but by all appearances all was not happy as the diminutive Brazilian came into the pitlane.

After a quick refuel and tyre change Felipe was sent out on his way again only to return to the garage and retire a lap later due to a suspension failure of some sort.

We don’t really see why Nigel ‘Steppers’ felt the need to apparently sabotage the F2007 before Monaco, given that the Ferrari team seem to be doing a stirling job of messing it up all on their own this season. (I know I’m being a bit harsh – I love them all really).

Felipe then sat about in the garage pouting and doing his best to look petulant anytime the camera’s flashed in his direction. As he might, given that this retirement has effectively put paid to his championship challenge for the season unless the FIA are feeling particularly vindictive towards the McCheats on Thursday at the convening of the WMSC.

Meanwhile, the only real excitement on track was happening between the Honda of Jenson Button and the Williams of flaxen-haired golden boy Nico Rosberg, who were having a tantalising duel swapping places at every given opportunity.

Out front Fandango and Louie were trading fastest laps and scampering away, leaving Kimi trailing behind rather pitifully. Either the Kimster was on a one-stop strategy and heavily fuelled or he kept mistaking the brake pedal for the accelerator. In all fairness the Kimster was apparently struggling all race from excruciating neck pain as a result of his accident in free practice, but we cant help feeling if you don’t keep your wits about you and look out for discarded banana skins you only have yourself to blame.

On lap 18 second placed man Lewis Hamilton came in for the first of his pitstops, followed two laps later by his team mate Nando. Presumably McLaren having learnt their lesson from Hungary that two many drivers in the pitbox is akin to a spanner in the works or some such proverb. Meanwhile the Kimster took the lead of the race, coming into pit just four laps later for his one and only pitstop but was unable to maintain track position over the McLaren duo.

michaelatmonza.jpgHowever, unfortunately this time the strategy did not pan out as expected and the Kimster could not keep up with the scintillating pace of his rivals, slipping back too far to be able to challenge them for the win.

Nothing to do with the fact a certain frightening fashionista by the name of Michael Schumacher had been spotted lurking around the Ferrari team over the weekend was it? one too many flowery shirts and dodgy cowboy hats and boots is enough to put anyone off what they were doing…now where was I? No wonder poor Kimi looks like a perpetually slapped haddock.

Meanwhile down at Renault Giancarlo Fisichella was languishing down in 13th after overtaking the Super Aguri of Ant Davidson, his poor start position apparently the fault of Rubens Barrichello who felt the need to go off track and rejoin just in front of the verbose Italian just when he was doing his fastest qualifying lap. Rumour has it Fissyfella was still whimpering and whining about the unfairness of it all 24 hours later.

By lap 30, the Kimster was lapping over 1.2 second slower than race leader Fernando Alone-so and was being rapidly caught and put under pressure by Nick Heidfeld in the BMW-Sauber. Presumably the only thing keeping the Kimster in front of the German was the improved aerodynamic flow around his car due to a lack of a bird’s nest on his chin.

At the end of lap 39 Lewis Hamilton came into the pits for his second stop, only to rejoin the track some seconds later behind the Ferrari of the Kimster much to the delight of the fans in the Grandstands. But it wasn’t to last, being on fresher tyres Lewis was able to outbrake the Ferrari into the first chicane and zoom past the Kimster, who still seemed to be peering into the footwell of his F2007 presumably still looking for his circuit map in order to find out where the drinks stand was.

Meanwhile race leader Nando was 7 seconds ahead of Lewis and looking to all appearances to be firmly on his way to the chequered flag having given his younger illustrious team mate a bit of a lesson.

monzapodium1.jpgFrom this point in nothing much of import or interest occurred (not if you are a tifosi at any rate), with McLaren coming over the line to take a much-needed morale boosting 1-2 on Ferrari’s home turf. Ron sobbed like a girl, and Ferrari snuck off to lick their wounds and regroup for the Belgian GP in Spa this weekend.

It remains to be seen if McLaren will still actually be in the championship come Thursday afternoon, or if they will be thrown out by the FIA for having sticky mitts.

Whatever happens we do hope here at FFN they can race in Spa, just so Ferrari can have another chance at giving them a good trouncing….and if they don’t it will be back to gibbering like an idiot and hiding under the duvet again.

Forza Ferrari.

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.

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

After the recriminations, backstabbing, handbag slinging and petulant behaviour that has been dominating Formula 1 of late, like us here at FFN we can imagine you were all looking forward to some on track action for a change.

If you were unlucky enough to spend your time this past weekend watching the qualifying and race from Budapest, no doubt you were sorely disappointed compared to the spectacle we had at the Nurburgring two weeks ago.


The tone for Hungarian Grand Prix was set on Saturday during the qualifying sessions.

Ferrari made a cock up of enormous proportions forgetting to fuel Felipe Massa in Qualy 2 as he was about to go out on track to set a hot lap, meaning the poor Brazilian poppet had to stop half way down the pitlane and be recovered back by his mechanics. The ensuing loss of heat to his tyres in this cafuffle meaning Felipe was unable to even post a time good enough to get him into the final top ten shoot out. This slightly important oversight on Ferrari’s part at a track where overtaking is nigh on impossible in a modern F1 car basically ruined the weekend for the diminutive star and annoyed the tifosi somewhat.

missing-crayons.jpgApparently the team admitting there was a mix up in communication between the pitwall and the garage that allowed the mistake to happen.

However we can exclusively reveal that the real reason behind this amateurish behaviour is due to the mysterious disappearance of Chief of Track Operations Luca Baldisserri’s crayons and colouring book. Rumour has it he was unable to right FUEL in big colour letters on the back of his hand as he usually does, and consequently forgot to inform the garage. So if anyone sees any former Ferrari chief mechanics in possession of a multipack of Crayolla….

The Kimster faired slightly better, being able to qualify in fourth position on a mickey mouse circuit Ferrari just didn’t seem to be dialled into.

Over at McLaren, it was pretty evident that their two cars were indeed going to be on the front row of the grid. Here at FFN we were slightly bemused when in the last few minutes of qualifying, McLaren cars began queuing like number 10 buses in the McLaren pitbox.

For some strange reason, despite being waved on by one of his mechanics Fernando Alonso appeared to be sipping a cup of tea, reading the Times Newspaper and doing the crossword while the seconds quickly counted down towards the end of the session.

This delay on returning to the track and allowing team mate Lewis ITV Lovechild Hamilton to pit, meant Lewis was unable to get around the track in time to start one last flying lap, basically gifting pole to the opinionated Spaniard.

The natural assumption was that Nando had deliberately impeded his team-mate. Here at FFN we really can’t understand the huge outcry this provoked, any action that sees Ron Dennis storming down the pitlane in a rage should be thoroughly applauded. However, you know the British Press….

ronandnandogoforagrilling.jpgSubsequently the actions of Fernando, Lewis and McLaren Co were put under investigation by the race stewards, who we suspect were surrounded and vastly outnumbered in their tiny office by an army of outraged partisan British Media hacks.

After several rounds of Domino’s pizza, jugs of warm Stella Artois, and interrogating McLaren personnel by threatening to pull out their toenails the beleaguered race stewards had to finally get around to making a decision.

Evidently they thought it would be good fun to annoy Ron Dennis some more to test the hypothesis that his head might explode with too much ongoing stress. The Race Stewards deciding not only to infer Nando was telling porky-pies, but to send him back to sixth spot on the grid (which on that circuit might as well have been the back) and to refuse to allow McLaren to secure any World Championship Constructors points for the race.

To put the cherry on top of the cake, they thought it only fair to do us all a favour and refuse McLaren personnel entry to the podium in the event they should win, meaning that they would be unable to collect any shiny pots for their trophy cabinet.

The Race

If you haven’t wandered off by now to watch paint dry, and we can’t really blame you….the race was a fairly dull affair…leading us to wonder why on earth Bernie wants to drop some more exciting circuits from the F1 calendar and leave this processional yawn fest on it.

With Nando relegated down to sixth spot on the grid, and Felipe Massa languishing down amongst the likes of Honda and Scuderia Torro Rosso, it was left for the other title protagonists Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton to put on a show.

kimis-start.jpgKimi got off to a good start managing to barge past the BMW-Sauber of Nick Heidfeld into the first corner (proving that calling your son Yoda really does not give you ways with the force) and managed to keep within striking distance of Luke Skywalker (I mean Lewis).

However it would seem no matter how the Ferrari team tried, they just couldn’t get Kimi past the Englishman and Kimi had to spend the rest of the race staring at the back of Lewis’s car while compiling his weekly grocery shopping list.

Down in 14th place Massa seemed to be making a complete hams-fist of things, and not seemingly able to do anything about getting past slower cars. Whether this was because he was carrying a fuel load tantamount to that of an industrial fuel-tanker, on the wrong tyres or if he had lost the plot we can’t tell because by this point we had already fallen asleep and were snoring our heads off in the armchair.

We should really point out that Spyker’s new boy Yamamoto carried on the team’s fine tradition of randomly parking their cars into any available tyre wall, and they wonder how they struggle to get sponsors? the adverts don’t seem to stay intact on the car for more than a few minutes!

On lap 19 race leader Lewis and Kimi Raikkonen came into the pits at the same time, leading us to wonder if Baldo had just lost his crayons….or if his marbles have gone slightly awry as well. Lewis subsequently rejoined the racetrack ahead of Kimi, for a few more laps of going round pointlessly in circles.

6 hours later (well it seemed like it) Felipe eventually came into pit on lap 35, which put him out on track in front of race leader Lewis Hamilton albeit about to get lapped. Presumably this was Ferrari’s idea to slow down the rampaging Englishman until the Kimster could do something about it.

No doubt Ferrari were hoping that Felipe might have a go at knocking the Englishman’s sidepod clean off should he attempt to overtake him on track. Unfortunately it didn’t seem that Felipe was in the mood for an afternoon of swearing and altercations this week, so eventually Lewis got past after a few blue flags were waved in Massa’s direction.

A few laps later Super Aguri’s Ant Davidson found himself unexpectedly in the gravel trap with broken suspension after attempting to overtake Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella. The Italian throwing a wobbly at being supposedly passed by a Super Aguri and decided it would be better to break his rivals car than risk getting overtaken and the subsequent pleasure of a good verbal rollocking live on radio yet again. Shortly afterwards Scuderia Torro Rosso’s Tonio Liuzzi drove straight into the STR garage to retire from the race, and no doubt enjoy a good round of fisticuffs with team boss Frank Toast.

nando-and-ralfie.jpgMeanwhile Double World Champion Fernando Alonso was circulating around behind the Toyota of Ralf Schumacher, and was perhaps wondering that Ralf had been taking driving instructions from his current team mate Trulli Awful. The McLaren appearing to be the faster car, but seemingly unable to get past the moving chicanery in front of him.

More pitstops ensued (or so we are told, we were too busy snoring if you remember) and not much else of interest happening on track. Fernando Alonso after being released by Schumacher pitting, was able to hunt down Chewbacca Heidfeld. The spaniard applying a lot of pressure to the young German, but seemingly Nick and his voluminous beard did not notice the menacing Spaniard behind him and managed to hold onto third spot.

Shortly after Lewis was able to bring his car home for his third win of the year, with the Kimster not far behind. McLaren Team Boss Ron Dennis was left looking like he was going to burst into tears and provide us with the most excitement all afternoon, unfortunately Mo-Ron was not that sporting and failed to oblige. Well there is still the Court of Appeal, we live in hope.

topthree.jpgNow that yawn-fest is behind us, we can only look forward with great excitement to the Turkish Grand Prix in 3 weeks time (26th August).

Will McLaren have been thrown in jail by then? Will Jean Todt have come up with some more excuses for Ferrari’s woeful performances? Will Alonso and Lewis be sporting black eyes? and will Baldo ever find his missing Crayons?

Tune in to find out.

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