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GP Week : Issue 46
>>GPWEEKOPINION exion necessarily squeezed every last drop of competitiveness out of the cars at his disposal. While Nakajima isn’t in F1 to make up the numbers, Nico, if his reputation is to be backed up by talent and results, should be annihilating him. And he’s not. So is it that we underestimate Nakajima or overestimate Rosberg? Or is it that Nico, as rumour suggests, just isn’t getting as much out of the car as he should? Personally I think Rosberg is a huge talent. But his mistakes last season, and his seeming inability to turn a car that started off the 2009 season as being one of the fastest into one that scores points is worrying. As one of only six cars on the grid to start 2009 with a clever diffuser, Williams should have been quids in. The car is well designed and we know it is quick. Post-Barcelona, the truth has started to emerge. Williams is now refusing to hold in its disappointment, as the team's public statements now reflect what the rest of us have been whispering… that their promise and early season advantage should have been rewarded with more. Rosberg should have had a podium by now. He should certainly be on more than 4.5 points. Unfortunately the general feeling in the paddock is that Nico isn’t pulling his weight and is simply holding out for an offer from a BMW or a McLaren to go and race one of the big boys’ cars. That by simply doing enough to beat Nakajima he will look good, but ultimately appear to be a talent frustrated by a poor car. This year though, most people are aware of just how much potential that car has. And if Rosberg doesn’t pick up his socks and get on with it, his stock along with his future aspirations may yet sink out of reach. nd lives on a factory Yamaha that had broken down and been parked trackside. Some teams resort to posting armed guards on their trucks at night, while outside the track small armies of gendarmes concentrate instead on harassing the citizens and disrupting the traffic flow. And then there are the circuit owners, the ACO (Auto Club de l’Ouest). Notorious from time immemorial in car circles for being greedy and intractable, it is no different for the bikes. From the Press point of view, especially so … it is only in the last few years that they have provided even drinking water for journalists who work late into the night to give them free publicity for their race-track. The latest outrage of venality was a charge of 90 Euros for four days essential internet access, with no alternative (like dial-up) available – enough to buy several months of essential access in most other parts of the world. In some ways, the Le Mans experience is affirming. It’s like bike racing was before it went corporate, and the stands became packed with families of Rossi fans wearing replica team uniforms. Here you can still see scruffy fans already wasted as the day begins, quaffing cheap red wine out of plastic bottles; here there are still motorbikes revving up all night, and an atmosphere of danger both inside and outside the track. Australia is the only other GP with any semblance of this old-time religion. As you may imagine, I have a personal axe to grind. Only in the west of France has my family and I been attacked and robbed by highwaymen. Only at Le Mans have I had my lap-top computer stolen, actually during a race (silly of me to be paying attention to the on-track action, rather than keeping control of my belongings). That’s why I always recommend my readers, if they are looking for a bike GP to visit, to find another one. You know it makes sense. 21