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Bernie has killed the British Grand Prix

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Bernie has killed the British Grand Prix by pricing it out of the marketplace. He, of course, denies all blame, using the excuse that it is market forces. He, according to him, is just a shopkeeper. His line goes that it can't be put on his head "If you go to a shop and can't afford to buy it is is not the shopkeepers fault".

Bernie the shopkeeper - that only applies when you're not the only shop in town and you aren't charging usurious prices.

You do have to sympathise with poor Bernie though, he's under attack from all sides. With the value of FOM falling like a stone, the shareholder Banks suing him for the loss of value of their stakehold, F1 imploding on itself and the rapid decline in his mental faculties he's probably not even aware of the fact that he still has an obscene amount of wealth.

There probably isn't much to say about the latest 'silly season' moves. Driver movements will not be finalised until the Button drama is played out and that is when we will know what the 2005 line-up will look like. Until then we have no surprises with the last few races. Trulli will get some practice in a Toyota and JV will get a chance to prove that Sauber's money has been spent wisely (or not).

China is a superb venue and looks to be a fairly challenging circuit although it does not seem to provide the same overtaking possibilities as Bahrain. I really don't understand why they put the bumps on the track coming into what promised to be a decent overtaking area though.

The racing in China was quite exciting, it's a bit unusual these days to be half way through a race without being able to pick the finishing order up front. Rubens won the race on merit, Jenson scored his podium on his strategy and Kimi lost the middle step because his strategists got it wrong. Those three all deserved their results.

Michael strung all his stuff-up's together and had his worst result in memory (mine anyway). He deserved his result too, despite the fact that he probably would have got into the points without the puncture. It did seem to me however that there was a little more to some of Michael's woes than met the eye. I believe that he was fighting a software glitch in the traction control, drivers of his calibre might spin once in an unforced error over a race weekend - not twice.

Williams had a sort of Michael experience as well. JPM moved up to 5th from 10th but that result flattered his effort. Ralf managed to destroy his credibility (not that he had much to start with) after walking away from the car in the pits. Sure he got a puncture and had to crawl back to the pits after his meeting with Coulthard but he failed to alert the crew to his problem and then just gave up when they weren't ready for him. Racers don't do that. There were minor placings still up for grabs and the car could have finished.

JV performed right up to my expectations! He managed to lose out on the start despite having the best launch control in the business (gee that's right - Renault don't have launch control do they?) then went round and round till the race finished. It was to me a wholly forgettable experience and I believe that it will be the lofty standard he will maintain until he's retired again. Some saw him as the saviour who would return Renault to second place in the championship, injecting much excitement into the process. I see him as being the saviour of BAR coming into the last 2 rounds. Alonso performed credibly in China but it simply isn't a Renault friendly circuit.

In Japan we will see a strong performance from BAR with both Button and Sato pushing for ascendency at a track that Sato seems to like. Perhaps it's just the home ground advantage though. Either way I believe they will be fighting hard with Raikkonen (if his car survives and his strategists let him) for the third step on the podium. Alonso will push hard to prove that he's better than the old man beside him but the Renault won't have what it takes to catch the Hondas at home.

The top two steps? They will be red cars, but I doubt that will please the powers that be at Toyota. Michael has had his run of failures - his ego won't let that continue, look for him to put his stamp on Suzuka.

The rest don't matter, despite the close positioning for a few minor places in the championship.

The Quali-flyer

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