The Horse Whisperer - The silly season

We call it the silly season and it’s a most apt phrase, even if the word “season” is less appropriate, given that the phenomenon now seems to go on all year round. The shouts from the market place can be heard in full cry at just about any moment in the season, especially when it comes to Ferrari. Whether the team is doing well or if it’s going through a period a bit like the current one, it’s always good box office. And today, it’s a truly universal phenomenon, in that it has expanded to cover several categories. It used to be just the drivers, but now it extends to team management and engineers and it’s a hot topic everywhere: one might even say in “all four corners of the earth” as the people coming up with these fantasies are quite capable of still believing the earth is flat.

A favourite pastime for the Prancing Horse is to keep tabs on all these rumours, to see just how creative and phantasmagorical these experts can be. Recent weeks have provideed a particularly happy hunting ground on various fronts. Engineer gossip has been enlivened by the news of the restructuring of the Scuderia’s technical department, giving rise to a wave of suggestions and a list of candidates good enough to make an employment agency go green with envy. But of course, it’s still the drivers that attract the most attention. And as usual, Felipe Massa is at the centre of it all. The Brazilian is now well used to this ritual, as it began almost before he set foot in the Scuderia. Each year he is due to be replaced, even if the season is only two races old, yet year after year, he is still holding down his job. The list of candidates scheduled to replace Felipe is by now a long one, but 2011 has seen some new names appear in the charts. First there was Nico Rosberg and now we can add that of Jenson Button. It goes without saying that, yet again, this is just a load of twaddle, to use a polite word for what I really mean to say.

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