Pat Symonds


Just when you think the powers that be in Formula 1 can’t come out with anything more ridiculous than they have already unleashed on the world, then lo and behold they seem intent on proving you completely wrong.

bowlhead-bernieThis week Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has declared that the global economic downturn seems to be having very little effect on the sport, despite the withdrawal of several teams’ sponsors or should we say bankers.

Both ING and RBS who are major sponsors for Renault and Williams respectively, have announced their imminent withdrawal from the sport, but not before they have nonchalantly frittered away our hard earned cash on the stock exchange and scoffed a few rounds of salmon sandwiches and fancy vol-au-vents.

According to the pint-sized bowl-headed one (who we suspect lounges around on sheepskin rugs getting fed peeled grapes by Mongolian princesses), all of this is having very little effect on how the teams are spending their money or operating. Little Bernard has reportedly pointed out that most F1 teams will still be bringing just as many team personnel to the grand prix for example, and therefore the global recession cannot be having much of an effect in the sport.

Not withstanding the extensive raft of cost cutting measures implemented by the Formula One Team Association (FOTA) in recent times to ensure the future of the teams in the sport, you only have to look around the paddock to find evidence to counter the claims of the pint-sized one.

A stones throw from the FOM trailer for example, we can see the global economic downturn already biting at Toyota, with Team Principal Tadashi Yamashima admitting he had to fight to keep the F1 team going against the need for Toyota as a Manufacturer to drastically reduce costs. Nowhere is this more evident, than in the Toyota Garage itself where the poor car designers have had to re-use the same can of paint to decorate their charger for at least the last five years. Here at FFN we even have a sneaking suspicion the poor mechanics are having to construct the car out of second hand Meccano kits found on E-bay and a reel of duct tape.

what-do-you-mean-i-dont-get-paidLikewise at Renault, if you scratch beneath the surface, evidence bubbles to light of hard times ahead for the team. Rumours of a most alarming nature have reached our ears, that things are in fact so tight at Renault that the team have confiscated Pat Symonds pocket money and the respected technical genius can no longer be found loitering around the back of the trucks enjoying a crafty cigarette. Tough times indeed.

Down at BrawnGP (formerly Honda and we all know about their financial crisis over the winter) it is clearly evident their poor drivers are taking the brunt of the global economic downturn, with Jenson Button’s retainer being cut almost in half, which must explain why the poor mite can’t even afford a cheap razor and can of shaving foam, while poor Rubens Barrichello has lost weight over the winter….because he hasn’t been able to afford food for the table.

dishwashing-dutyEven Ferrari, who let’s face it are always rolling in money, have been cutting costs of late. Gone is the state of the art scarlet clad electric dishwasher for cleaning pasta sauce off those plates, and in come the rubber gloves with the mechanics reportedly signed up to a dishwashing rota. We dread to think whether this means Luca Di Montezemolo can’t afford another TV set to wreck come the time of the Brazilian GP this year, and whether Stefano Domenicali has had to double up as the tea-lady.

Rumours have even been circulating that McLaren may have to de-commission their glorious gleaming beacon of a media centre because it is too costly to run, and replace it with the less costly alternative of canvas tent and deck chairs (second hand of course).

Not forgetting ex-Formula 1 Champion of yesteryear Jackie Stewart who is doing his bit for the good of the sport (no he hasn‘t promised to stay quiet for a change), the canny Scotsman is carrying on doing whatever he does without getting paid for it, which we must all agree is very benevolent of him. Although why he would need paying we haven’t got the foggiest, since he seems to be wearing the same trousers as he did 30 years ago, so it can’t be going on his wardrobe can it?

Clearly though Bernard hasn’t the first notion what he is on about.

Anyway, amidst all this financial doom and gloom, spare a thought for our poor friend from Asturias. Dear Nando.

poor-nandoWhile we are not aware of any financial hardships for the former double world champion, we do suspect the Spaniard may have made a dreadful mistake. What the deuces am I wittering on about you ask? Well we do wonder if the Renault driver may in fact be now regretting turning down that reported blank cheque proffered by Ross Brawn to lure him to BrawnGP. Presuming it wouldn’t have bounced of course.

Could he be currently sitting on a wall somewhere in Jerez bemoaning the surprising “performance” of the BrawnGP outfit, while Renault haven’t exactly been setting fires in winter testing? We wouldn’t like to bet on it……but we do suspect he may live to regret spending every other weekend for the next nine months getting up early each morning to look at that eyesore parked in the Renault Garage. Perhaps utilising the current spirit of goodwill and cooperation from FOTA, Fernando can petition Toyota for some cheap paint.

No doubt by now (unless you’ve been living on Planet Mosley) you’ll be aware that Ferrari finally secured their first 1-2 of the season in the third round of the Formula 1 Championship at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain.

start-of-the-race-bahrain.jpgEven though Felipe lost out on pole position during the dying seconds of qualifying thanks to a stunning lap by BMW-Sauber’s ‘Mr.Potatohead’ Robert Kubica, and suffered an unfortunate earphone related debacle on his way to the grid formation (where he reportedly couldn’t hear any merry mancunian chuckles from his race engineer Rob Smedley), the little Brazilian poppet still managed to outpace the Papal Polish favourite into the first corner and go on in commanding style to secure his first victory of the season. Simultaneously silencing his critics better than any familiar two-fingered salute could have done..

Ferrari’s current WDC the Kimbot, allegedly was suffering from an ear infection throughout the weekend (hopefully not inspired by Luca Di Montezemolo) and to all intents and purposed appeared a little off colour throughout proceedings (not that here at FFN we think he could get any paler, just for the record), but the Kimster bravely soldiered on and secured second place to ensure a perfect weekend and result for the Maranello Squad.

Ickle Felipe’s win coincidentally marked the 100th victory for the team under the leadership of their glorious softly spoken and media shy leader Mr Montezemolo.

Elsewhere BMW-Sauber’s Robert Kubica, who lost out to Felipe in the first corner and the Kimbot on the second lap due to some mysteriously invisible on-track oil spillage, was able to hang onto 3rd place and finish a not too shabby four seconds behind the Kimster.

McLaren meanwhile endured yet another torrid weekend.

Lewis Hamilton seemed to have unfortunately caught something contagious off ickle Felipe, whereby he started off the weekend losing control of his car on a kerb and spinning it through a sand trap and into a barrier demolishing one side of the car in the process. Not content to leave it there, the Brit fumbled his start to the race engaging the anti-stall on his car, slipping him back into tenth place from third and behind old arch rival Fernando Alonso. Nothing like making a hams fist of things is there?

lewis-minus-front-wing.jpgOn the first lap Lewis managed to damage his wing while driving into the back of the Renault, and then just a lap later decided to go one better and try and drive over the top of Alonso instead, knocking off his own front wing in the process.

This debacle sparking all manner of debate amongst the F1 fanbase, did Alonso brake-test him? Had Lewis lost his contact lenses? Had the Renault got a super strong magnet in it? You get the general gist.

After the race, Renault’s Pat Symonds kindly published the team’s telemetry to prove that the Sparkly Spaniard had not been willfully employing any kind of devious trickery on his old McLaren chum as had been previously suggested by ITV’s television “not quite-so-experts”.

Thus putting the spotlight firmly on the Woking based team to explain the strange incident and why Lewis seemed to have taken a rather obvious fancy to Alonso’s rear wing (apart from loving the paint scheme of course).

McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh (or Witchmarsh as we affectionately know him) suggested that the front wing of the McLaren had failed two seconds prior to Lewis climbing all over the back of the Renault like a bad rash.

This was evidently met with a fair helping of derision from F1 based internet forums, where members who quite clearly did not need to go to Specsavers (the opticians) could see from video footage for themselves that the wing had not come off two seconds before the incident but as a result of said same debacle.

But according to the Woking based fraternity they stand by their explanation, and suggest the failure of said device two seconds prior to the incident lead Lewis to lose all downforce and get sucked at high speed into the slipstream of Fernando. Which is quite scoffable really, since we all know at the speed Renault have been managing thus far in 2008, they couldn’t even suck a gobstopper in let alone a whole F1 car.

mr-talkative.jpgThis woeful performance on the part of the Enstone Massive might explain why just three races into the championship, we are being subjected to almost daily updates from the uncharacteristically loquacious Double World Champion.

This mainly consists of verbal musings in the media on what he plans to do next year, with whom, wearing which colour of his favourite underpants. That is when he isn’t too busy petitioning his fanbase to become his PR department for a year (all for the princely sum of 30000 Euro’s of course).

We can’t help feeling the Double World Champion would need a permanent army of Luca Colajanni clones to extricate him from the all trouble his mouth seems to get him into, nevermind just one poor deluded starry-eyed fan.

Before we go off completely at a tangent (and it wouldn’t be the first time) the only other point of interest in an otherwise quite dull coma-inducing race was provided courtesy of…you guessed it Mr. Magoo.

This time Red Bull’s David Coulthard tangled with Jense’s Honda on lap 17 taking off the fellow Brit’s nose cone in the process, sending Jenson scuttling back to the pitlane for another one.

Previously after similar incidents, DC has complained that the mirrors on F1 cars are about as much use as a chocolate fire guard (or something to that effect). Which goes some way to explaining his propensity for ignoring them completely and knocking rivals off track left, right and centre. Although we do feel that big square jaw might have something to do with it.

We can only assume by the end of the season there won’t be an F1 driver on the grid that hasn’t been driven into, run over in the pitlane, or been threatened with having seven shades of something knocked out of them. We’d really hate to see what carnage he could cause in a busy multi-storey carpark in a FIAT Punto.

michael.jpgNext week the teams will be returning to action at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona Spain, ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in just over two weeks time.

It is rumoured Ferrari’s overqualified sometimes test driver Michael Schumacher will be putting in an appearance for the team, testing out slick tyres and some components for the 2009 amongst other things, not to mention driving the media round the bend as per usual.

It remains to be seen if McLaren can bounce back in Spain, if BMW will continue to give Stefano Domenicali sleepless nights, and who can introduce the silliest addition to their car in the F1 development race. Bring it on.

renaultmotorhome.jpgI suspect you have been secretly wondering when I was going to mention the prospective pickle that former champions Renault seem to have found themselves in. If not I’m going to blather on anyway!

After winning successive championship titles in 2005 and 2006, everything seemed to rapidly go down the toilet for the Enstone based squad. Especially when their lead driver Fernando Alone-so made the strange decision to up sticks and head off for a new “challenge” at McLaren.

And what a challenge it turned out to be! With So Alone-so, Hamilton, Martin Whitmarsh and Ron Dennis involved in the mother of all four way duels to talk the most amount of nonsense to the waiting media in the shortest space of time, whilst single-handedly demonstrating to the rest of the pitlane McLaren’s unique style of team-work and championship winning ways.

Exhausted after all the high drama, Alonso has now decided to return to the Renault fold on the understanding that he will be their number 1, and not have to share his limelight with any snotty-nosed trophy hogging rookies. After all it worked for Michael Schumacher…and he didn’t even have to bribe and blackmail his team….

patandflav.jpgYou may recall recently both Renault Team Boss Flavio Briatore and his trusty side-kick Pat Symonds waxing lyrical publicly about the importance of having a clear and defined Number 1 and Number 2 driver in modern F1 teams.

Unfortunately it would seem the Management duo seemed to have accidentally forgotten their own advice (well they are getting on a bit – old age and all that) and signed young hot-shot and official Renault test Driver Nelson Piquet Jnr to the other racing seat.

(Heikki having contracted the same strange illness that Alonso previously caught in 2006, and having dementedly swanned off to Woking believing in fairytales, integrity, shiny-pots and what-have-you).

It may be worth pointing out that nobody seems to have told young Nelson that he is due to play the supporting cast to the sparky Spaniard. Comments in the media of late has seen Nelson Piquet’s old man wading in to insist Nelson Jnr will be firmly attempting to thrash the pants off said Double World Champion in 2008. What is it with ex-world champion fathers anyway? Nothing that a decent length of duct tape wouldn’t cure we are sure…

piquet-snr-and-jnr.jpgFollowing on from the tantrum throwing, door smashing and helmet chucking that went on against a certain rookie last year, here at FFN we just can’t wait for round 2 to begin!

But in all seriousness….Renault are hoping to return to the sharp end of the grid in 2008. A mysterious unnamed insider from the team mentioned to the Spanish media (is that a clue, then?) that predictions from wind tunnel simulations show the Renault R28 to be somewhere in the region of 1.6 seconds faster than the 2007 car. Presumably the 0.6-second part of that total coming from the unique leadership, team morale building and engineering skills only Fernando Alonso can bring to any team. Well that’s roughly what he said he took to McLaren…

Here at FFN we are fervently hoping the R28 is considerably faster than the 2007 car, if only to prevent the inevitable blood loss that would occur from our eyeballs if last year’s paint scheme is anything to go by.

Meanwhile all has been very quiet at Williams. Over the winter, Williams confirmed they had resigned their star driver Nico “Britney” Rosberg until 2010. Here at FFN we are presuming his nickname is Britney because of his long blond locks and hopefully nothing to do with his penchant for spells in rehab, driving with small children on his lap without a seat belt, or his involvement in dismal performances on MTV whilst off his face on anti-depressants.

britney.jpg Lining up alongside “Britney” for 2008 is young Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima, whose father incidentally is another former F1 driver. Nakajima apparently raced in the GP2 series last year and sufficiently impressed the Williams team enough to land the race seat. Meanwhile a young rising German talent Nico Hulkenburg has landed himself the role of Williams’ test-driver for 2008.

Incidentally, it would seem Williams have decided against having a car launch this year…only time will tell if its because they have something cunning up their sleeve, or if they have finally succumbed to the ‘if you can’t beat them join them mentality’ and gone out shopping for a customer car (let’s hope they didn’t get a Honda). Is that Frank Williams I can hear gnashing his teeth?

According to the latest rumours in the Motorsports Media, Formula 1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella is to open a Motorsports Academy at the Vallelunga Circuit in Italy.

fisifella.jpgApparently the state of the art bio-compatible facility called the “FMS technopole” will offer a variety of courses in many fields of expertise linked to the motor racing industry. Students at the FMS facility will be able to undertake courses to help them become mechanics, telemetrists, race engineers, aerodynamicists, team managers and even technical directors. (We presume classes in perfecting the phrases “I am very ‘appy” and “it woz a good race” and swearing, throwing hissy-fits, and appearing perpetually slower than your team-mate year-in-year-out come as standard). Strangely they don’t seem to offer a masterclass in being a successful Formula 1 driver…maybe they couldn’t get anyone in with the necessary experience.

Once the students have completed the courses in their specified discipline they will be awarded a diploma of merit, and their details will be passed on to all available motor racing teams and establishments that are seeking new employees. Which is all very admirable indeed, here at FFN we had absolutely no idea Fisichella was such an expert in all these other fields. Given Renault’s poor start to the 2007 season, perhaps Renault want to sack Flavio, Pat Symonds, Alan Permane and co…save themselves a few million dollars and let Fisi get to work on sorting it all out.

Interestingly, the FMS “technopole” which boasts solar panels and other bio-compatible technologies will also provide many other useful facilities, including a personal training facility (gym), a restaurant, shopping arcades so you can buy replica Fisichella sunglasses and hideous Renault team-wear, headquarters for Fisichella’s other racing teams and a dedicated museum displaying race cars and images of success from Giancarlo’s illustrious motor-racing career. So that’s a grand total of three photos we are to understand. It is not yet confirmed if there will be a display cabinet showcasing Fisi’s shiny pot collection, on account that they don’t know if they can find one small enough.

We shouldn’t mock it, Fisichella is admirably building for the future of motorsport, and it is admirable, no honestly…let’s just hope he is better at this than driving….we should at least be grateful Super Aguri’s Takuma Sato hasn’t opened a driving school of excellence….

Meanwhile, an old F1 one-hit wonder from the mists of time has wormed his way out of the woodwork yet again. You may recall several months back one Jacques Villeneuve (ex F1 driver and pop diva) claiming that he would never again pass comment on anything to do with Formula 1 or anyone in it, and we all thought Christmas had come early. According to Jacques his ascerbic comments were incorrectly interpreted and seen as being critical of his fellow drivers and colleagues in his former profession and he was no longer going to partake in that form of activity…much to the chagrin of the F1 hacks.

lewisgoldenchops1.jpgSo it is with a bit of surprise that we fell out of bed this morning to see Jacques flourishing pop career seems to be over before it started, and he is heading back to reclaim his crown as queen hand-bag slinger of the pitlane. This time Jacques has slammed McLaren Rookie Lewis Hamilton. What honestly has the golden boy of F1, the media’s darling, and Ron’s little poppet done to offend Jacques pray tell? (apart from being just about all over the media every darned twenty seconds obviously).

Jacques has apparently told Autosport Magazine that he is far from impressed with what he has seen so far, not a case of sour grapes then?

JV has questioned the legality and professionalism of Lewis’s demon fast starts. According to Jacques, Lewis is partaking in Schumacher-esque chops at the start of the race which according to the balding, flappy-headed, beady-eyed Canadian just isn’t cricket…er actually its called racing Jacques. According to JV these kind of manouevres would see other F1 participants black-flagged and he reckons Lewis is lucky so far not to have been penalised (that would get the British Press in an uproar).

jacquesonhissoapbox.jpgWe can’t help but wonder if Jacques had his way every race would end up like the Monaco GP, a procession of cars going round and round, nobody overtaking for fear of getting a rival’s undergarments in a twist…and definitely no controversies or set-to’s to keep us enthralled. Perhaps he should seriously think about joining the FIA who seem just as hell bent on making the sport as uninteresting as humanly possible.

Here at FFN we are wondering if in fact Jacques is a little bit jealous at having been completely forgotten already, and is desperately trying to claw back some of Lewis’s media attention for himself. And how come everything always in some way, shape of form links back to Michael Schumacher? We know he is a secret team-boss, gardener, test driver, UN road safety advisor, friends to the whales diver, charity footballer and “ferrari team advisor” and many more in his spare time, but surely he can’t be blamed for just about everything that goes on in the sport?

Maybe JV is miffed that he wasn’t Lewis’s childhood racing idol? It’s so unfair, isn’t it? Sniff.

nanfo.jpgIf Pat Symonds is to be believed, we might see Fernando Alonso begin to act all strange a bit sooner than expected this year…and no we are not talking about Nando pretending to be a duck or a crane in the parc ferme after a win, but his tendency to spout mind boggling bilge when under pressure. I am sure you all remember “I feel alone”, “The team doesn’t want me to win” or even his famous “I don’t consider F1 a sport anymore”. Pat Symonds thinks Nando is going to come under a lot of pressure from Lewis Hamilton this year, and it is never a good idea to put too much pressure on the current world champion if you don’t like that kind of entertainment. “He is an intelligent guy and, although he finished higher than Lewis, he will also look deeper and see the real picture. I think it will upset him” predicts Pat Symonds, which makes you wonder what it is about F1 that attracts more prophets and seers than the Himalayas does (we have the in-house psychic Webber, not to mention the local doomsayer Niki Lauda, and now Symonds too?) The season is barely a race old and the mind games have already begun. In Symonds’s defense though, he must have figured what with two seriously discouraged drivers in his own camp, why not discourage a few drivers from other teams to even out the playing field. “A lot of Fernando’s strength of character comes from his self-esteem” he adds, “And the only times that I saw Fernando really get upset during the years he worked for us was on the days when he got beaten by his teammate”.

While on the topic of Fernando Alonso, El Mundo Deportivo reports that a bunch of Spanish fans are most upset that “Alonso treats his fans like crap”. Apparently 15 members of Club F1 Alonso traveled all the way from Spain to Australia, only to be refused autographs or photos from their hero. They had to be content with photos of Kimi Raikkonen instead. But they are not dissolving the fan club and calling it Club F1 Raikkonen just yet, with a few of them flying to Malaysia for the next race. Well, in Nando’s defense, it is impossible to please everybody and they might just have caught him at the wrong moment. But one has to concede that with Michael Schumacher around, there was always a controversy or two to fill up news pages, and now with Michael gone, juornos are having to interview fan club presidents to come up with anything.

And talking of Michael, is anyone else having an odd sense of deja vu? Fresh reports are circulating that Schumi is on the verge of buying out the STR team…but haven’t we already heard this before? I thought Berger dismissed the speculation and said he had no intentions of selling his stake in STR, and even Willi Weber admitted to joking about the whole thing. So we don’t have a clue what Bernie Ecclestone is dithering about when he says “Michael has been such a fantastic figure, a real legend, he would be welcome back to the scene in any capacity. He could count on my help anytime” in relation to his rumor. Or maybe that’s just Bernie trying to keep the interest going what with the current F1 schedule having so much of a time gap between two races that it almost seems like a mini-offseason. Michael’s spokeswoman could not be reached for comment as she is having a very tough time keeping up with all the teams he is rumored to be buying out or is secretively serving as team boss already, and has retired to bed early with a migraine.

Rumors are circulating in the press that a ‘B’ version of the Renault R27 is being developed as I type, with Flavio ordering his engineers to build a new R27B with a longer wheelbase. Call me an eternal optimist, but I am hoping fervently that they change the livery as well, longer wheelbase or not. The car is expected to be ready in time for the European races, though it could have been sooner had the engineers not wasted so much time laughing at Ferrari’s unique long wheelbase design initially. Considering the number of race winning cars Ferrari has produced in recent times and considering their long and close association with Bridgestone, one would have thought it is just common sense to take their technical expertise for granted, but apparently the F1 world functions differently. At least one of the teams had the right idea a few years back when they allegedly tried nicking the Ferrari blueprints and then funnily enough refused to give it back as it was mixed with their own data (I will not mention names, but you know to which team I ‘allude’). “We had balanced our (2006) car with Michellin, and the moment we put the Bridgestone on was a shock” says Briatore, and understandably so. What’s that sound? Oh, it’s just Ferrari having the last laugh.

flavio.jpgGiancarlo Fisichella is very optimistic. “I do not believe we are the fourth power on the grid” he says, “We are the world champions”. Erm…well yes, they do happen to be the defending constructor world champions currently, but if I were Fisi, I would refrain from rubbing it in lest it sets off Flavio again. And we all know Flavio is like an uncontrolled fusion reaction – impossible to stop once he gets going. Last time, it is rumored Pat Symonds had to throw Flavio to the ground, sit on him and clamp his mouth firmly, and it still took about an hour for the rant to finally stop – next time they might not be so lucky. If Fisi is referring to being world champions again this year….well, what can we say, except that we hope Fisi enjoys his stay in la-la land. For Heikki though, it is all unfolding to be a dreary nightmare, that we are confident he will wake up from shortly as he appears to be a talented chap. Flavio apparently took Heikki away for a private telling-off apart from the ‘encouraging’ comments that were made on TV, and when all the noise finally ceased and plaster stopped falling off the ceiling, Heikki was mildly aware of a floating sensation and a sharp pain in his left ear – like a boiler had just burst in the immediate vicinity. “Let us just say there was very little praise” says Heikki, ever the master of understatement, “Flavio was angry”. Thankfully he took fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen’s advice and had liberal wads of cotton stuffed in his ears, so the damage will not be permanent, and the good news is that the ringing noise in his ears will most likely fade away before the next grand prix. The cotton-plugs-idea was apparently what Kimi had used to good effect during his McLaren days, especially when news of his party indiscretions leaked out in the press and Ron Dennis wanted to have a quiet word.

Ralf Schumacher has urged the Toyota fans to be patient, pointing out that there is no substitute for experience and that they are a relatively new team…, and that should be easy as I imagine one should anyway be an exceedingly patient character to be a Toyota fan in the first place. There are some who might wonder if Toyota really has any fans outside their employee base, but a quick search on the internet reveals that the team indeed does. There are some others who wonder why, of all the teams one could possibly support in F1, would one willingly choose Toyota…and to this, I have to admit I am stumped for an answer, but I am sure there are perfectly logical and valid answers. I have always been quite fond of the Toyota team myself (Yes, I am just being nice and don’t mean a word of it).

If you were wondering whatever happened to the charity football match that Schumi was scheduled to play with Zidane, Ronaldo and Co., it turns out that he contracted a cold and skipped the event (I bet he was just busy with all the relocation). When Michael was last asked which position he used to play in while at school, his reply was “the coaches always used to position me in the substitute bench, and for a very good reason”. So one assumes his absence didn’t affect his team too much. Incidentally Schumi has also been voted as the most popular Ferrari driver of all time in a poll conducted by Italian daily ‘Gazzetta dello sport’, with 49% of the 17,000 readers voting for the 7 times world champion. Giles Villeneuve came in second with 22% of the votes. Niki Lauda could snare just 3.8% and that would probably increase if he stopped predicting doom for the Scuderia Ferrari team, for there is no doubt he was a great driver. Forza Ferrari.

You have to admire Renault really, no really you do honestly.

Not only are they putting on a brave face on losing a world champion, and for having probably the most revolting colour scheme on their car and overalls ever seen in the history of the sport, (sorry Honda always the bridesmaid never the bride), but in winter testing their performance wasn’t looking particularly hot either.

Renault Driver Giancarlo Fisichella has been bemoaning the fact his granny could get round the track faster in her Renault Clio than he can, and one suspects that if the FIA had plugged in their headsets to listen to the team radio yet we could have been party to some very interesting and colourful language that would make even their car look quite dull.

Admirably as is always the case in Formula 1, the senior management have been coming out with an all toghether more upbeat message about their performance.

Back in the slightly less revolting days…well sort of
cunningplan.JPGAccording to chain-smoking Chief of Engineering Pat Symonds, Renault expect to catch up very quickly to their rivals at Ferrari, BMW-Sauber and McLaren.

“Absolutely, I think we’ve got a few things in place and indeed in the last couple of weeks we’ve closed up on two of them at any rate,” said Symonds after last week’s Bahrain test.

“Our expectations are good­ it will be harder for us than it has been in the last couple of years ­but we’ll be there to fight. I’m very pleased with the progress over the last few days of Bahrain testing.” waffled Pat.

He went on to mutter that although Ferrari had been pace-setters in winter testing they wouldn’t be holding on to their lead in performance for long. Presumably he is plotting to strap gabbling gas-bag team boss Flabby-*** Briatore to the front of the Ferrari that would slow it down no end.

Talking alot of hot air seems to be fairly common place in F1, not just amongst the teams but the journalists who cover the sport also seem to spout alot of cabbage.

jamesallen.JPGMy favourite F1 journalist you will understand is James Allen from ITV F1, who has systematically failed to realise since 2003 that Luca Baldisserri was actually employed by Ferrari as the Race Strategist and Chief Race Engineer and was not there to make scones and jam.

Given that he actually works in the sport and still hasn’t a foggiest who the new Head of Track Ops is, leads me to take all the rest of his ‘informed’ opinions with a large dose of sodium chloride.

Suffice to say Allen being the clever chap he is reckons Kimi has been sandbagging all winter to hide his pace from team mate Felipe Massa. He also claims Ferrari fixed it for Massa to win two races last year to make him look good, and that since the departure of Ross Brawn most of the Ferrari team haven’t got a clue which end of the car is which, let alone know how to make scones and jam….that’s alot of hungry mechanics this year then. Maybe they will do us all a favour, turn cannibal and eat him.

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