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PLUS CA CHANGE

 

Nico bolted on some softs and then..........  Plus ca change, plus cést la meme chose. For them wot didn’t excel in their Franglaise lessons at school it is roughly translated to, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Fortunately my School Certificate report stated that I passed advanced French fairly easily which turned out to be a complete waste of time and effort. Even when I went to France. Especially in France. If you tried to speak their language and weren’t note perfect they refused to understand you. This is why most tourists think the French are an arrogant bunch. The reality is that I really only needed to know three words in French to get along with them famously. So here’s a tip. You only need to be able to pronounce “Parlez vous Australien?” If you make the error of asking Parlez vous Anglais they will think you are either English or American. And they hate both. English because they have been at war with them for 95% of the last 2000 years and the last 100 years have been just an alliance of convenience. The Americans because they came and saved their bacon twice in that same 100 years but wouldn’t let the French forget it. Australians on the other hand also helped save their bacon but did it quietly and with a certain amount of respect. And quietly got slaughtered at places like Amiens and Fromelles. Turns out they love us. I discovered this about two weeks into my travels their in 2000. I arrived at the nice little town of Faverge down near Mt Blanc and wandered into the local tourist info joint, and sick of being ignored simply asked Parlez vous Australien? When one of the girls behind the counter questioned me I responded – “Well like English but not.” This received a tentative oui in reply. To which I said “That’s good because my French sucks.” Great peels of laughter followed from all those “arrogant” Frenchies and we then got on very nicely. Have done ever since. Lovely bunch when they don’t think you are English or American. They like Australians almost as much as the Belgians. If you are ever in the regions (and you are Australian – or Canadian even) make sure you pop in to Ypres at about 8PM. The nightly memorial service at the Menin Gate can bring you to tears even if your ancestors name isn’t inscribed in the sandstone. Fortunately my Grandfather survived Passchendaele so his name wasn’t. But I digress….rather dramatically.

   Plus ca change, plus cést la meme chose. After Jerez had some folk thinking that things might not be quite as one-sided this coming season, the two tests at Catalunya gave them a reality smack between the eyes like a rotting Halibut. Mercedes, who had been, just like last year, concentrating on their long runs on harder tyres, finally bolted on some softs and showed the rest just how far they still are ahead. On the second day of the final test Nico bunged on said softs and was a whacking 1.2 seconds faster that Bottas in the Williams which had been looking good up to that point. Ferrari, who looked so good at Jerez (remember what I said about Jerez) have improved but are third quickest at best. The final result of the test pretty much gave a good idea of the pecking order at the pointy end for when the first practice session of the years begins at Albert Park on Friday. Mercedes 1-2. Williams 3-4. Then things could get a bit muddled. Ferrari finished 5-6 but Red Bull were still running detuned Renault engines and just like last year, they could still end up being best of the rest.

   Meanwhile King Fernando gave his noggin a fair whack when he stuffed the McLaren into the turn three wall, in quite a similar fashion to a certain Lotus driver last year, and was carted off to hospital with concussion. The quacks have ruled in their wisdom that another such whack may not be great for Fernando’s health and have insisted that he sit out the Australian race so Kevin Magnussen will get at least one race start this year. That King Fernando thought he was a thirteen year old karting prodigy when he woke up may have had something to do with this decision. And for all those conspiracy theorists out there he wasn’t zapped by the CIA or aliens. He just fucked up. Happens to us all occasionally.

   There are still plenty of questions to be answered in Melbourne. Will Red Bull get back on the pace? Is Sauber as quick as they have been appearing or have they been running a tad light? Have Lotus made the progress that their times suggest and will McLaren get enough track time and possibly make it to the end of the race? Will Toro Rosso and Force India inject themselves into the mid-field battle or will they be propping up the grid? Will Manor-Marussia make it and if so will they qualify. I for one hope so. Who will get that second drive at Manor? With their connections to Ferrari and McLaren as major suppliers, it could be one of their reserve drivers. Perhaps the reason that they have delayed the decision so long is that the before mentioned Magnussen will be driving a McLaren this weekend. Or not. Possibly one of Ferrari’s brood? After all Jules Bianchi had been placed there. So perhaps Esteban Gutierrez or Raffaele Marciello? Or was there some link to the fact that Jean-Eric Vergne was displaying a Ferrari through the Adelaide 500 touring car race? Or will Ferrari help out engine purchaser Sauber and arrange for Van der Garde to get the drive so he ditches his court case demanding a Sauber drive this year. That case is due to be heard in the Victorian Supreme Court tomorrow and depending on the outcome may decide who will line up in the Saubers on the weekend. Or at Manor-Marussia. Or not. May just be someone else with a brief-case full of cash. It may be a race or two before we know their definitive line-up. We have to have something to ponder over after all….

 For full testing results go to;

  http://www.mmmsport.com.au/index.php/the-database/formula-1-races/2010-2019/2015-formula-1

 Sam Snape

 8/3/15