THE MAN IN THE PUB

Momentous times

These are momentous, historic times. No, I am not talking about Jenson Button, coming from the hell of earth car obscurity to world champion elect, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and surefire OBE candidate, nor am I talking about Ferrari and McLaren suddenly becoming midfield teams (not for long though) and I'm not even going to mention Brendon Hartley's stupid, stupid haircut.

No, it's bigger than all of that, as The Man in the Pub has to find a new one. A pub, that is, after the current watering hole decided that showing F1 on a Sunday lunchtime was not on anymore.

Apparently it was deemed "too noisy" though it is considered acceptable for the geriatric owner and his wife to have re-runs of depressing soap operas on at full volume instead. For me, watching impoverished and unhappy people from the east end of London, shouting at each other is not really conducive to a relaxing lunchtime, so a new boozer was called for.

Initially I thought about placing an advert in the Amberley News along the lines of "Local man, 43, GSOH, seeks pub, any age, for long term relationship and possibly fun, mutual interest in F1 required" but instead I just plumped for the rival pub a mile up the road.

True it is a bit further to walk, but "The Black Horse" does have a decent telly plus the definite bonus of barmaids significantly the right side of 40, so I am now ready for the start of the season proper, as after watching four races at "non pub" times, F1 is back where it belongs. Europe.

Fantastic.

Of course Bernie Ecclestone may well have the best of intentions in looking to move more of the show beyond Europe, it has got to survive the credit crunch and all that, but home is where the heart is and Europe is the heart of F1. Give me Monaco, Silverstone, Monza and Spa over those far flung autodromes anyday.

And what a cracking European season we are going to have. Brawn GP (and those Red Bull upstarts) are going to take some catching but it won't be long before the boys at McLaren, Ferrari and Renault soon start giving them grief, hopefully meaning we get another tight battle at the year end.

Mind you it certainly looks like none of those teams will have to worry too much about BMW Sauber, whose 2009 performance has taken a nosedive of stock exchange proportions.

One of the chaps at the (ex) pub has some sort of BMW M3 thing, he is clearly very proud of it. He says it is fast, sleek and a bit of a babe magnet (so why does he spend Sunday lunchtimes with us?), but even this BMW diehard, when he first clapped eyes on the F1.09 was downbeat, "What a dog, front end like a bloody snowplough, it was born in the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down‚Äö" he moaned, as BMW owners tend to do.

He has a point though, ugly cars never do well. Meanwhile, the Red Bull is a thing of exquisite beauty, the unliveried Brawn just looks like a proper racing car should do while the McLaren, although a bit tardy, should be in an art gallery somewhere.

So, great cars, cracking barmaids and nine races in close succession,

Bring it on!

Rob Sinfield also writes for www.GrandPrixDiary.com.

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