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Pushing through the sticking door the noise which assaults me could mean only one thing: Bob was already in fine form. A seemingly permanent fixture of my local, Bob is as much a part of the place as the rickety outdoor furniture in the beer garden. Strangely the two share a common thread, since they both generally need the help of an expertly placed beer coaster to stop them wobbling.
Bob is the resident expert on, well, everything. Plumbers, tired after a long day at work are driven around the u-bend as Bob explains to them the finer points of their trade. He's been known to lecture electricians and the local mayor is never likely to step foot in the place again. It's a good job Rembrandt and Da Vinci are long gone else he'd have taught them a thing or two as well.
But for all his opinionated waffle Bob is well liked and generally harmless. He also possess a rare kind of insight one can only get when looking at life through the bottom of a pint glass, and while often that means his views border on the absurd every now and then he sees the obvious that the rest of us miss.
"What's all this stuff about Webber's car being illegal," he barks at me before I've even had a chance to order a beer. It's going to be a long night, I think, and consider heading home now before I got trapped. "Is he going to lose his wins or not?"
"No, he'll be fine," I respond while desperately catching the eye of the barmaid. She holds up two fingers, as if to ask how many I wanted, and while it was tempting to consume a litre of alcohol early I opted for just the one. "You see the car was legal when he raced it," I explain. "Whatever the FIA does with the rules now doesn't really matter as long as the car is legal at the next race."
"But how can it be legal and then two days later be illegal," Bob enquires, metaphorically scratching his head while taking a swig of Adelaide's finest.
"Well," I brace myself, "put simply it's about the interpretation of the rules. Like in Monaco the floor was legal then because nobody had come up with an argument that could convince the FIA otherwise. So the car was inspected and passed legal and went on to win. A couple of days later the FIA received an argument that it accepted enough to redefine what teams could or couldn't do to its floor. That's not retrospective though, so Mark's win in Monaco stands, but it meant the team had to change its car to be confident it would still be legal in Canada. There are options for other teams to protest, but that seems about as likely as you not having a headache tomorrow."
My beer arrives and I take a large mouthful, almost collapsing in sheer delight; it had been a long time since I'd had a Coopers, my poison of choice. A South Australian beer, Coopers has become one of the trendy drinks in Sydney, the city which I now call home, and is unrivalled anywhere else in the world. The beers I'd enjoyed in Europe over the previous few weeks were nice at the time, but there's no taste like home.
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