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Glen Crompton - Unplugged

FEATURE BY MARGEIT & CROMPTON
02/03/2005

So it's Australian GP time again and I'm about to cash in few days leave, up stakes and temporarily re-locate to a splendid holiday cottage in Melbourne.

Such is my popularity in the workplace that the merest hint of my absence causes concern. OK, mostly it causes cheering and delirium, but all the same, questions are asked. Between the sniggering and merriment, I occasionally even answer them. Even more rarely, conversations actually ensue.

And here I speak not of dyed-in-the-wool hardcore F1 fans, just people who believe what the local papers say and tend to think F1 is worth putting up with if it means their beloved local touring cars come wrapped in the same parcel.

With Webber-mania at fever pitch here, this year's round of interrogation was markedly more intense than ever. Given that I'm sufficiently insecure and unpopular as to leap at any opportunity I might choose to interpret as genuine interest in anything I have to say, today's discussion was a comprehensive one.

Moreover, it occurred to me during the course of this exchange that the vast majority of the planet - Bernie's viewing figures not withstanding - neither care much for, nor vaguely understand Formula One.

What follows in my recollection of the utterings as I stood sagaciously at the centre of a confused group that Mr Ecclestone's product has yet to impress. I think it worth repeating since it's a perspective we sad F1 devotees have long-since lost sight of.

Them: How come you're having holidays?

Me: Going to the GP?

Them: Why do you need days off just to go to the doctor?

Me: No, not GP as in General Practitioner, Grand Prix!

Them: Oh, yeah, that's this weekend isn't it?

Me: Yep.

Them: Right, you're into all that aren't you. Can you get us some free tickets?

Me: Nup!

Them: Bugger, love to see the touring cars.

Me: They're only a support event, the main show is the Formula One Cars.

Them: Really? You sure about that?

Me: Very.

Them: It's just that everyone says more people watch the touring cars.

Me: I'd be careful who say that around. Mr Ecclestone wouldn't be very happy with that statement.

Them: Who?

Me: Never mind.

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