EFF ONE

I am afraid that there is bad news for students of the tonsorial arts because it became evident during the Hockenheim weekend that "the German Mullet", the Seventies hairdo much favoured by the cannon-fodder in Schumi's Army, is now officially dead. And worse still, the flower of German manhood has now begun to dispense with the once-rampant style of a red singlet, stretched over a beer-gut and offset by tight denim hotpants. Germany's idea of fashion has always kept the rest of us Europeans amused and one wonders what will happen when we can no longer laugh at our Germanic brothers in their unusual garb.

It is not as if they are a nation which is famous for telling good jokes...

Thankfully, things have not improved THAT much despite the best efforts of that missionary of good taste Willi Weber, who could be seen, white shoes flashing in the sunlight, valiantly trying to drag his fellow Teutons from their fashion black hole.

According to a German newspaper, Weber recently had quiet words with Cora (wife of Ralf) Schumacher about the way she dresses. Apparently, Herr Weber felt it was inappropriate for her to wear skimpy outfits, see-through dresses and thongs on her visits to the F1 paddock.

What is the Formula 1 world coming to? Pitlane popsies dressed as nannies? Actually that sounds rather sexy, doesn't it?

You can expect this story to feature in Williams' appeal against Ralf's penalty for colliding with Rubens Barrichello and Kimi Raikkonen at the start of the race, as Ralf will no doubt claim that he caught a glimpse of his missus on the pit wall as he headed down into Hockenheim's notorious Turn 1.

"Gentlemen of the jury, you can see from the video that my car whacks the Brazilian just after I saw my wife's Brazilian Wax..."

The first corner crash was a nasty one but there was a collision of a more terminal nature during one of the free practice sessions, when a bird of another feather decided to play chicken with the race cars. This defiant dove stood on the tarmac at one of the corners, near the racing line, stuck out its beak in contempt at these beastly racing cars and refused to move. This was not one of those cowardly British hares at Silverstone which take off when you say "Boo!". This was a Dove with balls.

Alas, in the end, the inevitable happened and rather more than feathers were ruffled. No driver was prepared to admit to the murderous offence (the police are still looking for the body) and so the FIA Stewards had no alternative but to walk down pitlane checking if any of the cars were running with extra wings...

The Daft Deutsche Dove brought to mind another recent track invader, The Mad Priest of Hangar Straight at Silverstone. One Brazilian magazine came up with an interesting interpretation of that affair, publishing a cartoon depicting the man in Ferrari gear, running along the track and waving a sign at race leader Rubens Barrichello which read: "Pit now, you've got Michael's car!"

Being number two to Number One is not an easy business but at Hockenheim Schumacher came to Rubens's defence in a roundabout way when asked about rumors that Jacques Villeneuve might be heading for Ferrari next year. Michael put on his best puzzled expression, paused for a moment to get the comic timing just right, and replied: "Why? I thought the idea was to improve the situation."

It's a common complaint that the current crop of F1 drivers have nothing to say and no wit in the way they say it but in Hockenheim Mark Webber joined Michael as an exception to the rule. The British press corps was keen to know how Webber planned to help his new team-mate Justin Wilson. Like all top sportsmen, the King of Queanbeyan found the idea of helping a rival one that was hard to grasp.

"I'm not here to pump up Justin's tires," he growled.

The seat left at Minardi by Wilson's sudden departure will be filled for the rest of the year by Denmark's Nicolas Keisa. But any feelings that the young Dane Formula 3000 graduate might have harboured about having finally broken into the big time must have evaporated when he went to pick up his credential. Not for him, the proud badge defining him as an F1 driver, the F1 rookie's pass bore the legend "Minardi VIP Guest."

I must admit I know how he felt because when I reached Frankfurt Hahn Airport on the way home after the race, my feelings of personal security were not aided by some unusual "works of art" in the departure area. On one wall was a childlike likeness of a passenger jet and on the opposite wall was a picture of the legendary Icarus, wearing only a loin cloth, plummeting down to earth, his mouth open in a silent scream, after his wax wings fell apart while he was flying too close to the sun.

As the F1 paddock waited for Mr Justice Langley to give his judgement in the Jordan v Vodafone case, rumor had it that EJ was about to be portrayed as a cross between Icarus and Robert Maxwell. Like a good journalist I trawled my way through the entire transcript of the case and concluded that Jordan must have been incredibly badly advised if he ever felt he had a case. Hopefully, the whole sorry tale will not hurt Jordan too much and one can assume that Eddie is smart enough to have had a "rainy day" fund stashed beneath the floorboards.

The only people to win in the whole affair were the lawyers.

You know what they say about 20 lawyers up to their necks in concrete, don't you?

Not enough concrete.

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