Alex Wurz

This weekend hosts the fourth round (and quarter way point already – crikes!) of the Formula 1 season at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain. Following on from the two previous races in Malaysia and China where local weather conditions played havoc, it is rumoured that a sandstorm may be on the cards for Sunday afternoon which just happens to be race day.

sandstorm-sakhir-circuitBahrain’s Meteorology Office (not to be confused with Ferrari’s sometimes errant pitwall system) has reported there is an increasing risk of “rising sand” whatever that means. We do hope it isn’t quicksand, otherwise the entire paddock could be swallowed up and never seen again.

With the current season only being four weeks old, and two thirds of that taking place in meteorological conditions of biblical proportions, here at FFN we are beginning to wonder what catastrophe we are in for next….fire and brimstone raining from the skies? plagues of locusts? incurable boils? We realise the powers that be have been trying to improve the spectacle of the sport but this is just getting ridiculous.

While the F1 teams have been unpacking and getting ready ahead of the race weekend, the F1 rumour mill has been in top gear all week, seemingly no amount of rain or sand can put a spanner in the works of the worlds motorsports media.

If you have access to the BBC, you may remember that last weekend at the Chinese GP, former Force India Technical Director Mike Gascoyne took over from the BBC’s regular pundit Eddie Jordan to bring us his unique insight into all matters F1, and did a superb job.

According to recent reports the feedback received by the BBC was so positive, that Mike Gascoyne is allegedly pushing for the job full time at the expense of the Irishman. Simultaneously it is reported that Mr. Gascoyne also has his eye on an unspecified role at Maranello and fancies himself as a bit of a Ross Brawn.

mike-gascoyneAllegedly Mike has been quoted as saying he will fit in well with the culture at Ferrari (no doubt he has his beady eye on the lunch menu already and has been practicing speaking and waving his arms around like an animated windmill at the same time) and is touting himself for a possible role in the wind tunnel or in the aerodynamics department.

Perhaps Mike is offering to fill the Maranello based windtunnel with hot air, as it seems this is what he is spouting at the moment. As far as we are concerned he is nothing like Ross Brawn, in height, girth or fashion sense, not to mention Ross Brawn hasn’t been sacked by his last two employers. But lets not split hairs. Perhaps he is referring to his facial fuzz and whether he looks jolly and round in red uniforms.

Personally we would have thought Jean Todt would have been a more accurate comparison….since they both have reputations for rollocking their employees when they get cross, not to mention the need for a few copies of the Yellow Pages so they can reach their pitwall bar stools….

Someone else who is considering their future with the Ferrari Team is Michael Schumacher, who has confirmed he will be holding talks with the team over the summer as to whether he continues on in his extremely vaguely titled role as ‘Advisor’, two years on we are still trying to ascertain what he does apart from standing around looking pretty and scaring the bejesus out of Kimi.

Although we suppose some tifosi may point out the very same thing two years on, regarding sometimes WDC Kimi Raikkonen. Not least since Team Boss Stefano Domenicali hinted after Malaysia that people would be best remembering what their responsibilities are, assuming of course that Kimi can actually remember that far back in the first place…..

michael-schumacher-mystery-advisorMichael’s announcement has led to all sorts of scurrulous speculation, that he is either looking to dethrone current F1 team boss Stefano Domenicali, or has simply got fed up of standing about like an expensive piece of furniture and taking flak for dubious strategy decisions, and wants to cut ties with the Maranello team and instead has decided to run off with the Moscow State Circus.

Is there anyone in the paddock these days not considering their future with the team? According to former Toro Rosso boss Gerhard Berger, the only man in Maranello with an assured job for next year is Fernando Alonso, quel surprise!

Allegedly the Toro Rosso ex-boss and former Ferrari encumbant himself, claims that the Spaniard already knows what team he is working for in 2010. According to reports, Fernando informed the Toro Rosso team in 2008, that he was only looking for an option for 2009 as he had already got plans in place for the following year. We can only presume he is coming to Ferrari in an advisory capacity as it seems to be all the rage these days, filling your garage up with highly paid advisors, never mind the sodding drivers.

This could leave Renault in the lurch somewhat when it comes to drivers, as already rumours have begun to emerge that Nelson Piquet Jnr (Alonso’s less illustrious teammate) has been given a 3 race deadline to show his skills or get given a close encounter with Flavio Briatore’s boot and the fire exit.

flav-and-his-boysThe Brazilian has been told that he has until Monaco to impress the Flamboyant Flav, or the team will start looking at other options, including running his car with a plastic crash test dummy. Not that we would probably notice much difference when it comes to the actual driving, but we do suppose they complain less, are a lot cheaper and have similar colours to Nelson’s helmet already which should please the sponsors.

Flav has gone on record as saying that even if Nelson Piquet Jnr does get the old heave-ho, the team are limited at trying too find a decent replacement this season (surely anything has got to be an improvement albeit slightly less entertaining…..).

One rumour currently doing the rounds is that Renault may be interested in luring away BrawnGP’s third driver Austrian Beanpole Alex Wurz, due to the fact he provides excellent technical feedback and has close working knowledge of BrawnGP’s hairdryer (I mean diffusor). Not to mention Alex has already worked for Flavio on a previous occasion at Benetton, and conveniently comes with a pair of industrial earplugs already installed. That’s if he isn’t already off to Ferrari, like the rest of the paddock.

Meanwhile the Maranello squad themselves have confirmed they will not be running the KERS system on Raikkonen’s car this weekend, but they will be running it on Felipe Massa’s.

kimi-in-bahrainApparantly the team have been hard at work back in the factory trying to get to the bottom of the system’s problems, and are hopeful that they may have fixed its reliability issues in time for the Bahrain GP. According to news reports this afternoon they will be running the system on only one car as a way of comparing performance, presumably to see the difference between very slow and VERY VERY VERY slow.

Mr. Raikkonen has spoken to the Italian Media today and in his usual understated manner has assured them there is not much chance of the Maranello outfit winning at Sakhir this weekend (just in case we were in any doubt), but that the realistic target is at most a podium place or a few points. That’s what we like to see, our drivers brimming with enthusiasm and confidence!

We can only hope that with the removal of his KERS (Kimi’s early retirement system) the Finn hasn’t got much excuse but to get on with it, and will have to wait a bit longer for his after race refreshments. Although we should point out since they don’t supply champagne on the podium in Bahrain, it’s hardly much of an incentive for him is it?

Yesterday witnessed nine out of eleven current Formula 1 teams returning to testing action at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, ahead of the opening round of the European races in Spain in two weeks time.

Usually this early season test is an opportunity for all the teams to start adding new developmental pieces to their cars, in a bid to boost their championship hopes against rival teams.

slicks1.jpg Tyre supplier Bridgestone provided the teams present with an opportunity to test out the 2009 regulation specification slick tyres.

Apparently any testing done using the new specification slicks does not count towards the teams 15,000 km testing limit, so many teams took advantage of the fact to test out some of their new components whilst pounding around the circuit relentlessly on the black round things.

The morning session rather unusually was topped by Honda’s Austrian Beanpole Alex Wurz, prompting all sorts of speculation about the emerging omnipotent powers of ‘Uncle’ Ross Brawn, Ferrari’s ex-Technical Director who took over leadership of the Brackley team at the end of last year.

Really if you consider 7 times World Champion Michael Schumacher has been raised to the status of a near demi-god in the eyes of his fanbase not withstanding cowboy boots, flowery shirts and the fashion sense of someone’s slightly drippy grandmother, then it’s not so far fetched to imagine a member of Honda’s green trouser brigade could likewise imminently join the Pantheon of the Gods.

Fortunately it would seem the Brackley outfit under the tutelage of Uncle Ross are making steady progress in a forwardly direction, which must be relief to all concerned (well apart from their rivals obviously), especially if you compare this season to the previous one where the team unfortunately seemed to engage reverse mode and get permanently stuck in it.

mclaren-rear-wing1 Ferrari’s arch-rivals McLaren meanwhile, took the opportunity also to test out the 2009 spec tyres in association with a new rear wing in anticipation for the 2009 season, so their car was set up to perform aerodynamically as close to the 2009 regulations as possible.

Well that’s McLaren’s excuse for test driver Pedro ‘the Pink’ being beaten by Honda’s test driver on the first day of testing, and we presume they are sticking to it like epoxy resin.

After minimal running during the morning session where Ferrari’s Felipe Massa only completed 12 laps, in the afternoon the Maranello outfit once more came out to play.

The little Brazilian poppet completing 77 laps in total for the day, putting in a stunning fastest lap somewhere in the region of 2.4 seconds faster than any of the rival teams, which must have caused a few raised eyebrows from within the paddock.

kimi-raikkonens-drink-supply1Before you all start fretting that Felipe has taken to employing drastic measures in his championship bid and started surreptitiously consuming the Kim-bot’s rocket fuel (as pictured), we understand that the Ferrari driver’s stunning lap times were actually set on a lap utilising the 2009 spec tyres and 2008 downforce levels, alongside the introduction of Ferrari’s latest radical new gizmo….the holy nose cone.

Yes finally after many months of speculation in the media and across Internet forums, the much vaunted and discussed aerodynamic piece finally broke cover in testing.

The ‘hole’ reportedly works by utilising the high-pressure air that builds up between the front wing and the underneath of the nose cone, channelling the air over the top of the car onto the rear wing and thus improving the car’s downforce.

And is not as suggested by some pundits, actually a device used for cooling Kimi’s feet because his socks become a particularly nasty biohazard after spending an hour and a half in close proximity to the flying Finn in stifling heat in the cockpit. If this had been the case we’d expect a huge gaping hole to appear right under Felipe’s seat, for every race he rolled out his lucky underpants.

the-holy-nose.jpg Back at Maranello apparently an investigation is now under way, after the news of the ‘holy nose’ contraption as some fans have dubbed it, got mysteriously leaked to the Italian Media back in January.

Reports have suggested that Technical Director Aldo Costa was horrified to find out that despite very few people within the team actually knowing about the existence of the aerodynamic piece back then, it still somehow found it’s way into the press.

Unconfirmed scurrilous rumours have suggested that once Mr.Costa has pinned down the guilty culprit, they will be having a face to face meeting with a reel of duct tape and banned from social networking site Facebook for a year.

Unfortunately it would seem this is one such incident that Nigel Stepney cannot be blamed for…but does raise the ugly spectre that there might yet still be someone lurking inside Maranello that can’t be trusted and deserves a firm smack over the knuckles with Nick Tombazis’ trusty slide-rule.

michael-in-action Meanwhile in other news, Ferrari’s official 3rd driver Michael Schumacher (who incidentally will be testing the F2008 at Barcelona on Wednesday) was yesterday back in action on a motobike at the Eurospeed way at the Lausitzring in Germany.

Wearing yet another rather fetching outfit (this time in Orange), the former World Champion who was taking part in a bike promotion unfortunately had a small disagreement with an oil slick on track and found himself deposited on his rear end on the concrete. No doubt you will all be relieved to know the German Superstar was unhurt in the incident, although we do suspect there might be a slight dent in his ego (not to mention a few grazes on his rear end).

F1 Testing continues again today at the Circuit de Catalunya, with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa once more leading proceedings for the Maranello outfit. Forza Ferrari.

Valencia Day 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valencia Day 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ciaooo for now.

spa-francorchamps.jpgAfter a year out from the F1 calendar while revisions were being made to the track, F1 racing finally returned to glorious Spa Francorchamps last weekend.

The week leading up to the Grand Prix had been dominated with the legal wranglings taking place in Paris at the WMSC, with the pitlane on tenterhooks as to what decision if any the FIA would take against McLaren. Who you probably know by now if you have a head, a brain and all the usual limbs etc saw McLaren take a bit of a drubbing, but lucky to escape with a humungous fine, no constructors points and a big arrow above their heads pointing in a southerly direction saying “cheats”.

So it came as great relief to the fans, engineers, drivers and everyone concerned that finally things could move on, the men in grey suits could be banished back into their broom cupboards and we could finally get back to what the sport is ‘supposed’ to be about motor racing.

After a dismal showing at their home grand prix a week previously Ferrari were determined to redress the balance and finally give their fans something to be cheery about, but could their arch rivals stop them?

Securing the first Ferrari front row lockout of the season, things were certainly looking up for the Maranello squad. But it remained to be seen if Kimi and Felipe could manage to go a whole race keeping their McLaren counterparts behind them and without any more mysterious collisions into tyre walls, damper failures (whatever they are when they are at home) or any short term memory loss on the pitwall regarding refuelling.

the-race-start.jpgAs the five red lights went out, both of our boys were wide awake for once and made a great start down into the first corner, with the McLaren duo battling it out behind them. As his team mate drew level with him going into La Source, Fernando Alonso decided he was having none of it from the star rookie and was going to teach him a bit of a lesson as only pushy Double World Champions with a penchant for brake-testing and tantrum throwing are want to do. Nando forced his team mate to go wide at the exit to La Source and the pair ran side by side down into Eau Rouge, but Fernando was determined not to give an inch let alone a mile to his team mate forcing young Lewis to back off or end up as tyre wall fodder.

Apparently this manoeuvre upset the Englishman, but considering he has been carrying out Schumacher-esque chops all season on just about everyone, is he really in a position to complain? Really one cannot expect much better from certain Spaniards who think nothing of cheating, lying, blackmailing his team and shopping them to the governing body really.

At the end of the first lap BMW-Sauber’s Robert Kubica had moved up from 15th to 13th place after being demoted down the grid post qualifying for an engine change. He may have a head shaped like a parsnip but he certainly knows how to drive which can’t be said for some people in F1.

As the second lap was under way Austrian beanpole Alex Wurx spun his car in the bus stop demoting himself right to the back of the pack. Meanwhile Antipodean Mark ‘Whingebag’ Webber (who we should mention has been remarkably quiet of late) seemed to be a man on a mission and stormed past Renault’s Gardening Expert Heikki ‘Grassmower’ Kovaleinen into 6th place. It remained to be seen though if the Red Bull could manage more than a handful of laps before the gearbox gremlins set in.

Out front the Kimster was scampering away having built up a 1.7 second lead in just two laps over teammate Felipe Massa, with petulant Spaniard Fernando Alonso just 1.4 seconds behind him on track.

Proving that his birdnest beard is no hindrance to aerodynamic efficiency bratwurst munching and all round sparkly personality Nick Heidfeld meanwhile was scrapping it out with Grassmower for 7th spot.

Meanwhile Parsnip-chops Robert Kubica was charging up the field and showing one of the “top 3 drivers in F1” Ralf Schumacher a thing or to, by making short work of him on track and snatching away his 8th place.

sutil-v-coulthard.jpgIt would seem Spyker’s B spec car was a bit of an improvement on their usual day-glo eyesore of a shopping trolley, with German Star Adrian Sutil up into 12th spot. The talented pianist and pitlane totty (according to some) was by this stage in proceedings all over the back of David Coulthard’s Red Bull like a bad rash. Whether Mr Magoo noticed or not, or was too busy grooming his grizzly little excuse for a beard in his wing mirrors who can say.

Meanwhile poor little poppet Sebastien Vettel (with slightly frightening shaved head) had come into the pits, gone out again and decided to retire. The 12-year-old lookalike sat patiently in his car in the garage while the mechanics removed the nose cone and poked about the car.

Out front the Kimster and ickle Felipe were scampering away, while Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovaleinen were scrapping it out at La Source. In the Bus Stop Kubica left his braking later than the Finn and shot past like a rocket or at the same speed you’d expect from Kimi had a bottle of Finlandia Vodka been up for grabs.

On lap 14, the first of the pitstops began with Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber and Vitantonio Liuzzi all pitting. The following lap championship contenders Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton came in for the first of their pitstops, and wonders will never cease Ferrari managed to remember all four tyres, fuel and everything. Bravo! It’s amazing what they can do when they have new crayons on that pitwall.

Eventually Adrian Sutil in the Spyker pitted, much to the relief of Mr Magoo in the Red Bull, who then had to fight off the challenge of Robert Kubica in the BMW-Sauber. However, DC managed to use his cube shaped head to his advantage and managed to resist the challenge from the ‘divinely’ inspired and Vatican favourite Pole.

scampering-away.jpgBy the end of lap 20 the Kimster was leading ickle Felipe by 2.3 second and Fandango by 11.8 seconds, so much for the drubbing McLaren were going to dole out in response to their slapped hand at the WMSC courtesy of arch rivals Ferrari then.

A few laps later further pitstops taking place, with Jense (once loved by the British Media) Button and Liuzzi coming in, and a lap later Mr Magoo coming in releasing Kubica out on track.

On lap 31 the Kimster decided to come in presumably because he had run out of Roll-Mops and Vodka, and incidentally took on some fuel, new tyres and a Spiderman comic to read on his way round to the chequered flag. Meanwhile poor Cube-head Coulthard retired in the Bus stop due to a technical failure on the Red Bull, oh well if he waited long enough presumably some public transport would drop by and pick him up. Well it must be called ‘The Bus Stop’ for a reason!

The following lap ickle Felipe came into the pits for a second time, meanwhile out on track Takuma “suicidal move” Sato managed to pass Jense Button in the Honda, the Honda B Team still spanking the Honda A team good and proper. Haven’t Honda recalibrated that blooming wind tunnel yet?

By lap 33 Alonso had come in for his second pitstop releasing his teammate Lewis Lovechild up into 2nd spot, However 3rd placed ickle Felipe has already pitted and Lewis hadn’t meaning that it was only a matter of time before the Ferrari front position lock out was back on again.

A few laps later Hamilton came into the pits for his second stop, while Jense retired down at Honda…well what can you expect from a car that has about as much mechanical grip as an oiled haddock on a skating rink and all the aerodynamic efficiency of a 1970’s style afro.

Out front the Kimster was now 14 seconds ahead and rumouredly having to receive electro-convulsive therapy every few seconds from race engineer Chris Dyer to keep him from slipping into an afternoon nap as he is want to do on occasion.

With two laps remaining both ickle Felipe and young Lewis both started putting pressure on their respective “No.1” team mates, the McLaren rookie nearly losing it at Pouhon, but fortunately the tarmac run off area allowed him to continue, no doubt if a gravel trap had maliciously intervened there wouldn’t have been enough time for a crane to come out and rescue him before the race had finished.

the-race-winner.jpgThe Kimster then lead home a much needed Ferrari 1-2 much to the delight of the tifosi and the team, and even managed a rare show of emotion by doing a donut in his F2007 before entering the pitlane prompting everyone to wonder just who had been driving the Ferrari that afternoon. He even managed to crack a smile on the podium…we are deeply concerned…what have Ferrari been doing to him?

Meanwhile Nando Alone-so was looking increasingly uncomfortable during the podium celebrations, no doubt because he was out numbered 3-1 by Ferrari men even if he did know their brake balance, weight distribution, wives shopping habits, favourite meals and bank balances.

So now just 9 days to go until the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, and the fight is on for the World Drivers Championship, with just 2 points between the McLaren duo and the Kimster 13 points behind. All it needs is a Banana in the odd McLaren tail pipe and let battle commence! That’s unless McLaren decide to appeal their conviction and end up even deeper in the mire with the WMSC.

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

Considering you can’t usually shut us up here at FFN, you may be wondering why it’s taken this long for us to sit down and write anything on Sunday’s European Grand Prix. Well we have no excuses really, just that we have been lying down with our Ferrari embroidered flannels on our foreheads trying to come to terms with all the excitement and drama.

ahappyscene.jpgUnless you have been vacationing on Mars, no doubt you will be aware that McLaren’s Fernando Alonso stole victory in the closing laps of the race from the sticky mitts of Ferrari’s poor little poppet Felipe Massa in one of the most exciting races in years. Although the result was not what the Tifosi were quite expecting, the weather and ensuing chaos ensured that for once F1 wasn’t about cars going around pointlessly and endlessly in circles with nothing much happening in between.

All began well enough, with the boys from the Scuderia lining up in 1st and 3rd places on the grid respectively, with Fernando Alonso sandwiched in between. Due to his unfortunate high-speed tête-à-tête with the barriers during qualifying, championship leader Lewis ITV-Lovechild Hamilton was languishing down in tenth spot on the grid. The prospect of Ferrari maximising on this fortunate turn of events, not to mention the prospect of Lewis actually having to overtake someone other than a back-marker for once had us all rubbing our hands in glee.

As the grid formed up for the red lights to go out, Spyker’s rookie Marcus Winkelhock lined up to start from the pitlane. Not that usually that would make much difference as the Spyker’s seem to be permanently glued to the back of the grid…so I doubt it caused many raised eyebrows.

goodstartfelipe.jpgAs the race got under way, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa got a great start and managed to swipe 2nd place from the hands of Fernando Alonso, while Lewis Lovechild got off to another of his demon starts making up five places on the main straight. As the rest of the pack were swarming around the track Quick Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica seemingly forgot they weren’t at the fairground playing dodgems and drove into each other, collecting Lewis’s rear tyre causing a puncture. One has to wonder if Lewis was becoming sick to death of those black round things on the corners of the car, as he wasn’t having much luck with them all weekend.

At this point the rain decided to intercede in events, meaning that the track was too slippery on the dry weather tyres. At the end of the first lap the vast majority of the field decided this was a good time to pit for intermediate tyres, with the exception of the Kimster. Kimi presumably thought he’d have some fun aquaplaning across the pitlane entrance and go around for another go like a kid at Waterworld. While Felipe was leading proceedings in the pitlane, the Kimster had a slightly surreal moment as Marcus Winkelhock in the Spyker passed him on his lap. Yes a Spyker taking a Ferrari…. Just imagine! I bet Kimi decided to give up on the Finlandia Vodka there and then (just means more for me then).

interestingparkinglot1.jpgAt the end of the second lap apparently Kimi got a call from the pitwall to stop larking about and to come in, and as he did so utter carnage began in turn 1. Jenson Button started it all sliding into the barriers which is probably what the Honda deserves, and he wasn’t long to be outdone by a few other drivers. Lewis ended up in the gravel yet again, but this time managed to save himself from being closely acquainted with the tyre wall, shortly followed by Adrian Sutil who slid in backwards narrowly missing Lewis.

At this point we assume Race Director Charlie Whiting must have decided to pop the safety car out, as you can’t have much of a race if everyone is parking up in the first turn like you would at the supermarket. Just as the safety car was deployed, the Race Marshalls rushed into action, digging out all their expensive cranes and diggers to try and remove some of the hapless beached victims. STR’s Tonio Liuzzi as ever decided it was boring having his race car pointing in a forwards direction and decided he would have a go at sliding into the side of a tractor for fun. Unfortunately the tractor was considerably bigger than his car and was always going to come out the winner in that one.

Meanwhile young German rookie Marcus Winkelhock in a Spyker was leading the Grand Prix which must have been slightly surreal for a car used to being stuck behind just about everyone on four wheels including Jarno Trulli on roller-skates. Cunningly Lewis had managed to keep his car going, and once the crane had lifted him out of the gravel trap he was able to get back on track and go around for some more fun albeit a lap down on the leaders.

redflagged.jpgAfter four laps the race became red flagged due to the weather conditions, well that’s the official story and the FIA are sticking to it. Personally I think the Safety Car guy threw a wobbly at having a Spyker so closely behind him (given their reputation for driving into just about anything) and couldn’t take the pressure anymore. The cars then had to reform on the grid once more, the sun broke out and the teams were forced to await the restart while getting a spot of sunbathing in.

After half an hour the race was back on again under the safety car. McLaren meanwhile were disputing that Lewis was in fact a lap down on everyone else, (presumably conveniently forgetting Lewis’s short sojourn in the gravel, but then McLaren do like to dispute just about everything including the fact they haven’t really seen secret Ferrari documents). However, Lewis had to basically unlap himself and form up at the back of the grid ready for the race to begin in earnest.

However for some silly reason just as he had unlapped himself Hamilton came into the pits to take on a set of dry tyres despite the fact the track was still very wet. Subsequently as the race started again, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were able to get past race leader Marcus Winkelhock on the extreme wet tyres, compared to the rest of the field being on the intermediate ones.

The McLaren decision to pop Lewis on the dry tyres appeared to have been a bit of a gaffe as Lewis spun the car yet again but luckily managed to keep it going. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before Lewis was getting lapped again…and we thought it was him supposed to be doing the overtaking.

Meanwhile the Kimster was all over fellow flying Finn Heikki ‘Grassmower’ Kovaleinen like a bad case of the chicken pox, and it wasn’t long before Kimi got past, but Heikki was not having any of it and immediately took the position back off the Kimster again. Those Feisty Finns.

kimihuntsdownalonso.jpgFerrari then decided to bring Raikko in to go out on some dry tyres, a move that would later prove to be very wise as Kimi was able to get up into 3rd place and start hunting down Eyebrows Alonso in the McLaren.

On the next lap race leader Felipe Massa lead a stream of cars into the pits for the switch to dry tyres, leaving Red Bull’s Mr Magoo to lead the race for one lap. Meanwhile Spyker’s star rookie of the day Marcus Winkelhock unfortunately had to retire due to a hydraulics problem, the German later admitted to having thoroughly enjoyed his 10 seconds of glory…and strangely for a Spyker driver it didn’t end up in any of the barriers for a change much to the relief of the Mechanics.

The top three drivers, Felipe, Fernando and the Kimster meanwhile were within less than four seconds of each other and Kimi seemed to be catching Alonso at a rate of knots, leading us to wonder if Kimi has been using his Finlandia Vodka for rocket fuel instead of drinking it.

Shortly after Renault’s Heikki Kovaleinen was able to get past the Williams of Alex Wurz, while Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher and BMW-Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld were battling it out for eighth place. Quick Nick again seemed to be struggling to see through his voluminous beard and managed to punt Schumacher off track. Once out of the car Ralf seemed to be visibly annoyed and looked like he wanted to hot foot it across the track after Heidfeld. Unfortunately a Marshall decided to unwisely intervene and try and encourage Ralf away from the danger of the racetrack and got a good shove Raikkonen style for his troubles.

A few laps later Ferrari’s flying Finn seemed to be struggling to keep up with Alonso, and it later became evident there was a serious problem with his car as the engine began to cut out. It was later to be confirmed by Ferrari that Kimi’s car suffered hydraulic problems, which put him out of the race. Kimi must be wondering just what he has to do at the Nurburgring to stop his cars falling apart on him. Perhaps purchasing some industrial strength gaffer tape would help?

kimiretires.jpgWith Kimi out of the race, Red Bull’s resident handbag slinger Mark Webber was promoted up to third place for his dogged drive.

Before this turns into a feature length life-sapping essay of the sort of proportions that only McLaren CEO Ron Dennis can provide (and yes I’m slipping into a coma and I’m writing it), perhaps we should try and sum up what happened for the remainder of the race.

In short two further rounds of pitstops ensued, followed by more rain. During the final round of pitstops Nando attempted to squash ex-team mate Fisichella’s Renault between his car and the pitwall as they raced side by side down the pitlane for the exit. No doubt Fissyfella was not “very ‘appy” but unfortunately this time we were not party to his colourful radio transmissions.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa managed to just avoid driving over what appeared to be a stray ‘Ferrari Frisbee’ lying out on track, and with the rain once more in play Fernando Alonso managed to catch up and overhaul the remaining Ferrari. Not without some exciting wheel banging race action taking place first, which really should be compulsory in just about every race.

Unfortunately Ferrari confirmed after the race that Felipe’s car was suffering from vibrations due to the last set of tyres, and this is why he apparently lost time to the McLaren of his rival. And really, honestly, had nothing absolutely whatsoever to do with the fact Felipe is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard when it comes to driving in the rain, bless his cotton socks.

pantomimedameinaction.jpgNot content to however have stolen the victory from the Brazilian in the final laps of a thrilling yet chaotic race, Fernando couldn’t quite help himself when he got out of the car in Parc Ferme. The Spaniard making a theatrical show of demonstrating to the watching media the scratched paint along the side of his car. If he ever decides to quit F1, he has no fear of being bored and not having anything to do like a certain Mr. Schumacher. No indeed here at FFN we would bet our money that Fernando Alone-so has a ready made career treading the boards as a theatrical pantomime dame…and we like to think he’d look quite good in a dress.

As the top three drivers made their way up to the podium, Fernando and Felipe were involved in a polite exchange of opinions. From our lip-reading expert we can garner that the main gist of the conversation was:

Fernando: “Next time I do insist after you sir!”
Felipe: “No after you!”
Fernando: “No, no I must insist dear Felipe after you!”
Felipe: “Fernando you are just too kind”

What a polite bunch these F1 drivers are. We only wish the same could be said for Team Bosses. McLaren’s CEO Ron Dennis (as you will know by now I’m a particular fan) made a complete public spectacle of himself on the podium after receiving the constructors trophy from one Mr. Schumacher of 7 World Championship Fame.

fia.jpgRon was seen gesticulating and pointing to the back of Michael’s head like a badly behaved six-year-old (let alone 60). Quite what it was all about we have no idea, perhaps it was motivated by follicle related jealousy, after all our German friend has plenty of luscious Loreal locks unlike Mr. Slaphead.

Whatever the reason, maybe someone ought point out it doesn’t do to take the mick out of someone who has just given you a trophy on the winners podium. Not least because these people are usually presidents and prime ministers and usually have a decent arsenal of nuclear warheads at their disposal should you upset them. Michael may only have a ‘Schloss’ in Switzerland, a bizarre wardrobe of clothes and a big collection of pots, but we do hear he has a good collection of vehicles in which he could decently run you over with Ron.

It matters not, Mr. Dennis might be laughing on the other side of his face come Thursday afternoon. We live in Hope. Forza Ferrari.

kimiraikkonenbyelenafiorini.jpgThe second day of testing at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire England once again saw the Toyota team at the top of the timesheets.

Jarno Trulli sneaking in the best time in the last half an hour or so, despite Ferrari’s Flying Finn Kimi Raikkonen dominating the top of the scoreboard for the vast majority of the day.

On this occasion the British Weather managed to behave itself reasonably well, so there was not too much in the way of interruption to the day’s testing programmes for the F1 teams involved.

According to reports in the Media, the Ferrari team were testing a new aerodynamic package as well as some other bits and bobs (yup that’s the technical term) on the F2007. Rumours suggesting a new undertray and some other mechanical stuff…well I’d like to tell you more but I can just about get my head around the round black things on the four corners let alone confuzzling myself with all sorts of weird and wonderful gadgets and gizmo’s.

The only blip to Kimi’s day was when he shot into the pits and went straight past the Ferrari pit-box, presumably the Finn getting confused if he should in fact be going to Toyota’s instead. Easily done I suppose, I’m sure Michael Schumacher accidentally disappeared off into the Toyota garage at the Australian GP in 2006, after parking his car into the wall. Just going to show Kimi is learning some new tricks from the Master, despite his protestations that he doesn’t need any help from the 7 times World Champion.

kimiraikko.jpgThe Kimster reported at the end of the day that the F2007 had felt good and the team seems to have made a step forward in performance. Thank heavens for that, I don’t think I could bear to watch them go any further backwards. According to our favourite Finn, the next two races will be crucial (aren’t they all?) and he is hoping to be fighting for wins in these races. Presumably instead of having to scrap it out with that bearded chap from BMW-Sauber or the grass-mowing dude from Renault for fourth or fifth place.

Kimi has remarked that he will not be giving up just yet on his title challenge…. While the rest of us were wondering just when it might begin. “Sunshine” Massa will take over testing duties for the Scuderia boys for today.

Alex Wurz posted the third fastest time of the day in between suffering a hydraulics problem, bringing out the red flags.

McLaren didn’t have everything all their own way for once; “Pedro of the Rose” lost valuable track time when his car experienced an oil leak. There is still a small glimmer of hope for a McLaren Mcboom then at some point this season; my money is on for Monza in September. Fernando Eyebrow Alone-so will be resuming aerodynamic testing (although with his neck we are wondering if it should be aerodynamic resistance) and race set-up for the Woking based outfit today, all assuming he has recovered from his latest media-related temperamental outburst.

Heikki Kovaleinen’s car had to have an engine change when the Renault team noticed it behaving strangely (obviously it had been in the company of Flavio Briatore for too long). However the team managed to continue on with their planned programme evaluating new aerodynamic components, and a new fly-mo rotary blade for the bottom of Heikki’s car. The Renault team claiming that despite a bit of rain and the engine problem, they had been able to collect some “interesting” data – which is the F1 equivalent of saying we haven’t got the first darned clue what it all means.

Mark Webber had a torrid day of testing for Red Bull, suffering two engine related issues during the day whilst trying to carry out Red Bull’s evaluation of a new aerodynamic package (the face car) let’s hope there are not to many jowls and double chins on it. The Australian only managing to complete 33 laps all day, but presumably it could have been a bit more if the moaning had been kept to a minimum. At least one positive aspect can come out of this, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen can feel bad luck doesn’t just have it for him alone.

liuzzi.jpgTonio Liuzzi’s test with Scuderia Torro Rosso carried on pretty much in the same vein as the previous day (where he had struggled to get back from the US in time) this time his on track exploits were hampered by the bad weather and numerous red flags. I guess that’s called Karma, what goes around comes around, and makes a change for Tonio not to be causing them. Scott Speed will resume testing on behalf of the copycat Red Bull team from this morning.

Adrian Sutil was in action for Spyker-Ferrari, the German evaluating a new braking system for the team, presumably designed to prevent the two Spyker drivers permanently parking their cars into just about every available barrier on the F1 calendar. Giedo Van Der Garde and Christian Albers will take over crashing (I mean testing) duties for the Spyker team today.

Tune in later for an update on all the action, news and gossip from Silverstone! ciaooooo!

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