Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gelato Gratis

What’s one thing that’s better than ice cream? Free ice cream! That’s right, today while walking in town I stumbled upon an ice cream parlour that had the two sweetest words in the Italian language posted on a sign just outside the window. “Gelato Gratis!” It stated in bold letters. The announcement alone was enough to stop me dead in my tracks, after all who wouldn’t want a tasty treat free of charge? The fact that this was also no ordinary ice cream, but rather Italian gelato, which is basically frozen heaven in a cone, made the whole thing even sweeter. It seemed as though the locals were also fans of a bargain as they flocked in hoards to sample the ice cream for themselves. Men in business suits stood in circles outside, happily eating cones filled with various pastel-coloured flavours. Groups of school children crowded together inside the shop. They demanded chocolate, pistachio and every other kind of ice cream imaginable from the exhausted ladies behind the counter. While waiting in line, a breathless teenager asked me if all of the ice cream was indeed free. When I replied that it was, he turned around to his group of friends and exclaimed “Si!!!” In an instant it was as if they all became little kids again. They abandoned their blasé attitudes and bored facial expressions, cheering out loud while giggling excitedly. It’s too bad that Kimi Raikkonen is currently busy preparing for the second round of Barcelona testing. If anyone in the paddock knows how to enjoy an ice cream, it is certainly him!

Speaking of the Barcelona test, all of today’s major Formula 1 headlines circulated around the upcoming engagement. It seems as though both Ferrari and Red Bull will have to run along with the masses starting on March first and finishing on the fourth. As I stated in Sunday’s blog post, the two teams had originally planned to start the test a day later than the rest of the field and finish on the fifth. The FIA, however, decided today that all the teams had to complete the meeting together, thus putting an end to Ferrari and Red Bull’s logistical plan.

There was disappointing news too for Marussia, who announced today that they will miss the Barcelona meeting because their new single-seater failed its final FIA crash test. The failure means that Marussia will arrive at the first race (assuming that they indeed pass the crash test before Melbourne) with no mileage on their new car. This is surely not the way that drivers Timo Glock and Charles Pic wanted to start the 2012 season.

The final piece of news that caught my eye today was another story about Kimi Raikkonen’s motivation. It seems as though the resurrected Finn is keen to shed his reputation for falling asleep behind the wheel. “People always talk about motivation, but the people who write it probably don’t even know me.” Raikkonen told F1 Racing magazine. “It’s not a lack of motivation if your car is shit and even if you drive your best and still can’t get a good result. My feeling is that I drove one of my best years in my last year for Ferrari. I’ve never had a problem with motivation.” Until I see otherwise, I will believe Kimi when he says that he is adequately motivated for the season ahead. Still, if I were Eric Boullier, I would have a fridge stocked full of ice cream and an electric cattle prodder on hand during every race! As I said earlier, it's a shame that both Boullier and Raikkonen didn't make it out to Lodi today, they probably could have gotten themselves a pretty good deal.

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