Posted on February 20, 2014
The top teams in the F1 Strategy Group have yet again vetoed a budget cap for the sport in 2015. I am surprised by two of the teams in the strategy group voting against a budget cap, those teams being Williams and Lotus who have both had cash-flow issues in recent years. Obviously the four smaller outfits Force India, Sauber, Caterham and Marussia has not reacted well to this decision.
My view is that the governing body should make and enforce the rules while the teams either comply or choose to walk away from the sport. Two teams particularly should feel aggrieved; Caterham and Marussia (formerly Lotus and Virgin) who were lured into the sport in 2010 under the guise of a cost capped sport, which never materialized. Two other teams Hispania (HRT) went bust at the end of their third season and USF1 ran out of money before making it to the grid in Melbourne 2010.
I think that F1 needs a budget cap and a fairer revenue sharing system which benefits all teams and not just the top teams. The two remaining new teams, now in their fifth season are still nowhere near scoring points; which is largely due to a lack of budget. Caterham and Marussia simply don’t have the development budget to move up the grid, they are doomed to be be perennial also-rans. You also have to look further up the grid to Lotus who had to take pay driver, Pastor Maldonado just to stay on the grid in 2014 and are nowhere near the front where they were during 2013!
According to Autosport (subs only); there’s a £199m difference between lowest budgeted Marussia and top budgeted Ferrari during the 2013 season, which is a massive gulf between just 11 teams.
For those that are not subscribers, here’s the reported 2013 F1 Budgets
A number of drivers are reported to be considering strike action because of unpaid wages; with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg claiming that the unpaid wages are due to lack of funds within the teams and not a willful act to not pay the drivers, “The sport is too expensive” the German commented.
Lewis Hamilton claimed his second successive victory of the season in Bahrain holding off team mate Nico Rosberg on the option tyre during the final ten laps after a six lap safety car period while Esteban Gutierrez’ car was cleared from the outside of turn 1 for Mercedes’ second 1-2 of the season.
These new regulations have spiced up the racing; lots of position change off the start; Hamilton outbraked pole-sitter Rosberg into T1; Williams’ Felipe Massa had a monster start; moving up four places to 3rd while team mate Valteri Bottas dropped two places to 5th, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen dropped back four places to 9th and McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen dropped out of the top 10 from 8th.
For much of the race it looked like it would be a battle between Force India and Williams for best of the rest, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Valteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were battling for the final podium spot. But going into the last stint; Red Bull suddenly came alive especially with Daniel Ricciardo who came within 3/10ths of a second of Perez and a podium after starting from 13th because of being handed a 10 place grid penalty because of the last weekend’s Red Bull screwup.
The second Force India of Hulkenberg came home in 5th place holding off the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel, just about keeping out of the DRS zone, which I believe is Force India’s best ever team result, 3rd and 5th. The Williams’ fell back to 7th and 8th after earlier running in 3rd and 4th.
Ferrari had an terrible race; finishing in 9th and 10th places; being passed by the Mercedes powered Williams’ and Force India’s all race long. Fernando Alonso leading Raikkonen home; the Spaniard punching the air as he crossed the line. Which shows where Ferrari really are in the pecking order.
But it could have been worse; McLaren failed to get either car to the chequered flag. Magnussen pulled to the side of the track on lap 42 and Jenson Button developed a gearbox issue during the safety car period and started dropping back on the restart; losing half dozen places before eventually pulling into the pit garage after it became clear that there were no points to be had.
F1 2014 has been spiced up significantly due to the new car and engine formula; lots of action throughout the field; although I would have liked to see the engines more evenly matched, right now Mercedes engined cars are dominating. Unfortunately it looks like Mercedes (the works team) have such a massive advantage that it’s their drivers and constructors titles to lose. Even the other Mercedes powered customer teams are massively behind because they didn’t have access to the engine specs until the early part of the year, guess that’s the advantage of being a works team!
Finally, “Crashtor” Maldonado lived up to his nickname once again, coming out of the pits and t-boning Gutierrez sending the Sauber into a roll at turn one. And the punishment was a 10 second stop/go penalty, five place grid penalty for China and 3 points on his super-license, which in my view was incredibly lenient given his history on the track. I believe he needs to have his super-license revoked, he is going to end up killing someone with his reckless driving; I guess money talks!
2014 Bahrain Grand Prix Results
I have been a lifelong Liverpool fan and have seen the days of the 80s when Liverpool were the team to beat, teams feared coming to Anfield. But during the 1990s and 2000s; Liverpool have found Premier League titles illusive and in the 2010s have slumped to finished outside the top 4 places.
I’m happy to say that in 2013/14; Liverpool’s fortunes have perked up. The Reds are currently top of the Premier League with a two goal cushion with six games remaining after winning six games on the bounce including a 0 – 3 win over United at Old Trafford and 4 – 0 win over Tottenham at Anfield.
Liverpool have been impressive in the last six games, scoring 22 goals with the SAS striking partnership, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. I am cautiously optimistic that Liverpool can break their league title duck since the formation of the Premier League back in 1992 and lift the title!
So the challenge will be the two fixtures against title rivals, Manchester City and Chelsea on the 13th and 27th of April respectively. These are must win games; as well as claiming three points for the win, it’ll also take three points away from their title rivals; although the Reds would be foolish to underestimate the other four teams, West Ham, Norwich, Crystal Palace and Newcastle.
Not related to the title charge but I have been hearing a lot of conjecture about Luis Suarez moving to Real Madrid for £100m over the summer. I really hope that Liverpool can hang onto the striker, even more so now he’s cleaned up his act; Suarez is contracted until the end of the 2017/18 season.
Lewis Hamilton put his Australia engine woes behind him with a pole to flag victory leading team mate Nico Rosberg home by 17 seconds to record the first Mercedes 1-2 since 1955. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel also put Australia behind him to record his first podium of the season.
Daniel Ricciardo who had his Melbourne second place taken away from him several hours after the race, was once again screwed by his Red Bull team. The Australian was told to stop after his final pit stop while running in fourth after it was realised that the left front wheel was not secured. After being wheeled back and the wheel secured; Ricciardo fell from fourth to 14th. Then suffered a broken wing on his out lap forcing another pit stop, then to add insult to injury was handed a 10 second stop/go penalty for an unsafe release, Red Bull finally electing to retire the car on lap 52.
Vettel never really had a chance of winning the race after dropping back behind Rosberg off the line into turn 1; third was a best the German could expect; Mercedes were the class of the field. The way it’s shaping up, we could see single team dominance in 2014, which doesn’t bode well; although I suspect that many will find it easier to swallow seeing Lewis Hamilton winning race after race!
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished the race one place higher than where he started; which was mainly thanks to Red Bull’s implosion which cost Ricciardo dear. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen eventually finished in 12th place thanks to seven retirements after McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen sliced through his right rear tyre on lap 2. Magnussen suffered from a damaged front wing which slowed him down significantly allowing team mate Button to move ahead while a queue quickly formed behind the Dane before pitting for tyres and a nose cone on lap 10 while picking up a 5 second stop/go penalty.
Kevin Magnussen finished the race in ninth place while McLaren team mate Jenson Button finished in sixth place ahead of the squabbling Williams drivers. A call came over the radio to Massa “Valteri is faster than you, do not hold him up”; the Brazilian elected not to let his mate mate, Valteri Bottas pass which allowed Button to put some distance between himself and the pair of Williams.
The Williams pair finished the race in seventh and eighth places with the Brazilian leading the pair despite the team order; and to be honest I don’t blame him. The stealth-like Force India driver, Nico Hulkenberg secured fifth spot with yet another quiet unassuming drive although there were some notable but short lived battles as the German fell back from leading the race due to not having stopped for tyres at that point. Respect to Hulkenberg for bringing home another solid result.
The final points paying position went to Daniil Kyvat; who drove solidly throughout the race weekend to pick up of the spoils from the parent team and their failure to secure Ricciardo’s wheel. It really does make you wonder if Mark Webber left his bad luck in F1 for fellow Aussie, Ricciardo?
2014 Malaysian Grand Prix Results
Today I posted to Craigslist as I do every day as it’s part of my job role and it (Craigslist) has now restricted the use of the style html tag, it doesn’t strip it out; it straight up refuses to let you post until you remove any and all style= code. Now you have to use whatever font Craigslist chooses.
Update [3/21/2014]: It appears that CL is stripping out the code now, check your postings!
In addition to this; it seems I can not watermark my photography of the properties to protect myself and my company from fraudulent use of the images. Craiglist took down an existing post after adding new photos with watermarks without notice. It really seems that Craigslist is a scammers paradise. My legitimate posts get deleted while rent to own and scammers posts remain untouched!
I have also noticed that just above the posting body form field, it now says “please enter phone numbers as contact info above, not in posting body below”, so I expect that posts will get deleted if you type a phone number or Email address. All my ads have telephone number and contact form URL. The simple reason I add contact details in the body is because users miss the CL contact button!
It truly baffles me why Craigslist keep on further restricting their service; eventually even the most hardcore advertiser will abandon Craigslist, a classified service without ads is pointless. I wonder if this is the master plan to become a pay service; driving away users and relaunching as a $$$ service!
Update [3/23/2014]: Since the latest changes and removing the now prohibited code, all my posts are being deleted upon renewal. Craigslist is getting beyond a joke; suddenly my posts that I have been posting/renewing every 48 hours just fine for months are now getting flagged and deleted.
Update [3/25/2014]: Now updating your post with the latest information also results in your post being flagged and deleted, I even deleted older posts to avoid being flagged for overposting!
Update [3/27/2014]: Here’s some more information; it seems to me that Craigslist is disallowing more than one new post, edit or renewal per hour, last night and this morning I renewed three previously accepted posts and posts two and three were immediately flagged and deleted.
2014 heralds a brave new world for Formula 1 with it’s new 1.6L V6 Turbo with two forms of Energy Recovery System to boost the total power to 760BHP; also new 100KG total fuel usage and 100KG/H fuel flow limitation which confuses me somewhat as I will explain later in this write-up.
In qualifying, Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position ahead of home favourite Daniel Ricciardo and team mate Nico Rosberg with McLaren new boy Kevin Magnussen starting alongside Rosberg on the second row. Fernando Alonso, Jean Eric Vergne, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Massa and Valteri Bottas claimed positions fifth through 10th respectively. Jenson Button qualified 11th after slowing too much for yellow flags after Kimi Raikkonen put his Ferrari in the wall, the Finn qualified 12th behind the Briton but ahead of Sebastian Vettel who had major car issues during Q2. All three drivers later got bumped up a place after Bottas took a five place grid drop for changing a gearbox.
Moving onto the race itself; after two formation laps because both Marussia’s on separate ‘attempted’ starts had engine shutdown issues, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg had a stunning start leapfrogging both Ricciardo and team mate Hamilton to steal the lead and that’s where he stayed in a very Vettel/Red Bull like fashion. I’m hoping we don’t see another season of single team/driver dominance; but I’m willing to bet that if Hamilton is the one dominating, there’s wont be too many complaints, me personally, I’d rather see three or four teams fighting it out for the spoils.
Anyway, I digress, back to the start, Kamui Kobayashi got a miraculous start in the Caterham but that soon ended after he rear ended the Williams of Massa taking both drivers out of the race. The Japanese apologized to his team and Massa; but the Brazilian furiously demanded that Kobayashi be banned from the next race. It turns out that there was some sort of technical failure with the Japanese’s brakes so it wasn’t Kobayashi’s fault after-all. Despite it not being his fault, total respect to the guy for accepting the blame instead of blaming his equipment like most other drivers.
Current world champion, Sebastian Vettel and one of the favourites for this season Lewis Hamilton were both out of the race with engine related issues, both cars well down on power and falling backwards fast. Valteri Bottas was scything his way through the field, overtaking Kvyat and Raikkonen before banging his right rear wheel against the wall, dropping him back to 16th place after a stop for a new wheel. Despite this setback, the Finn never gave up fighting his way back upto sixth place before being promoted to fifth place five hours after the conclusion of the race.
Now we move onto the home favourite; Ricciardo who maintained his excellent second place from start to finish on debut for Red Bull, but was later disqualified from the race for exceeding the maximum fuel flow rate, apparently Red Bull elected to ignore the FIA reading on fuel flow and went with their own calculations despite the FIA stewards warning Red Bull that they were over the fuel flow rate during the race. I think that the fuel flow rate regulation is stupid; just give the team 100KG of fuel and let them use it as they see fit; having only 100KG of fuel is tough enough!
I really don’t understand the flow rate calculations; if they are allowed a maximum flow rate of 100KG/H and Ricciardo only had 100KG of fuel; if he used 100KG+ of fuel in an hour; then surely he should have stopped out on track; even if like I’ve heard suggested, the car is fueled with 105KG to account for out and in laps plus fuel sample; he still would have run out of fuel. I just can’t get my head around the logic of the fuel flow regulations, is fuel flow different from capacity?
Jenson Button who started from tenth ended up finishing the race in fourth place after an inspired pit stop strategy; immediately pulling into the pits when the safety car came out for Bottas’ tyre debris. The Briton made up a total of five places to end up right behind his young team mate Magnussen. Both Lotus’ ended up at the side of the road with ERS falures, I bet that Maldonado is kicking himself right now for burning his bridges with the super fast Williams team.
The Ferrari’s of Alonso and Raikkonen eventually finished in fifth and eighth places respectively, Nico Hulkenberg put in another strong showing to finish seventh while the Toro Rosso’s of Vergne amd Kvyat claimed ninth and tenth respectively. But because of the exclusion of Ricciardo; everyone from third down got promoted one spot giving Force India and Sergio Perez a bonus point.
I’m not so keen on the sound of the new V6T with ERS; I think my V6 roadcar sounds more angry and aggressive; but the new regulations have made racing interesting again; it’s great to see the drivers having to earn their paychecks fighting the car to keep all four wheels on the track. Also seeing engine failures is nice, the bulletproof reliability of the past 10 years has made things boring and predictable. So I like the new F1 overall, it’s more like the racing of old with less reliance on aero performance; the only thing I would change is; abandon the 100KG/H fuel flow regulation.
2014 Australian Grand Prix Results
Last weekend, the wife and I bought a used 2012 Ford Fusion SEL from Davis Moore Nissan, E Kellogg Ave in Wichita. I will write about the dealer later, for now I am going to write about the car.
I’ll start with the specs; 3.0L V6, 24v AWD powertrain, 6 speed auto/SST, 240BHP using standard unleaded fuel, four wheel disc brakes with ABS, electric power steering, electric windows, mirrors, front seats, sunroof, satellite navigation, premium Sony sound system with nine speakers.
I probably am not the best person to compare the cars handling characteristics as I have spent the last 3 1/2 years driving a Crossover/SUV which handles pretty poorly at higher speed; but the handling is sharp and responsive with the minimum of body roll; traveling through 40mph turns comfortably at 65-70mph. Although the steering does have a slightly disconnected feel through it’s electrical power steering; after coming from a hydraulic power steering system. The throttle is nicely weighted, not too heavy or too light and acceleration is swift as far as saloon (sedan) cars go; it’ll hit 60mph in about seven seconds and launches well with it’s all wheel drive system. If I do have a complaint; despite the AWD system, it does suffer from quite bad torque steer. Brakes are very powerful with it’s all round disc brakes with ABS, although the brakes can be a little grabby at lower speeds, bringing the car to an abrupt stop if you put a tiny too much pressure on the brake pedal.
Fuel economy is pretty good for a 3.0L 24v V6; the 16.5 gallon fuel tank will take you approximately 370 miles and in my testing, in the city I get about 22.5mpg and on the highway I get about 29.5mpg, which is about 4 mpg more than the specifications and I am not the most subtle of driver.
Inside it’s a very pleasant place to be; leather seats, two-tone interior, faux wood accents and a premium entertainment system including Microsoft’s Sync with voice control; which doesn’t work well for me; but I guess my English accent confuses the system. The Fusion features a touchscreen display with navigation which isn’t the best; far too many options in my view, but it does work relatively well once you figure out how it works. The downside is that map updates cost $199 + tax each and the display is mounted too low in the car, forcing you to look away from the road to check the nav, it would have been better placed where the storage space is on top of the dashboard.
The sound system features Sony Premium audio with eleven speakers which allows playback of CD/DVD (with video when in park), mp3 and Bluetooth audio with ripping of CD’s to the internal 10GB drive. While inside the center console storage, you will find USB connectivity and a 3.5mm line input. Sound quality is very good, good bass response and great clarity thanks to medium drivers in the doors and large drivers rear parcel shelf with separate tweeters in the corner of the A frame.
The Fusion SEL also has automatic climate control; you set your desired temperature and leave it to turn on the heat/air and required fan speed to maintain your desired temperature, which works fantastically well and it a nice change for me personally, I never thought that I would own a car with automatic climate control as that was the realm of the expensive luxury cars like Lexus, BMW etc.
Trunk space is more than adequate; you can easily fit an average load of groceries in the trunk; rear leg room is great even with the driver seat in my driving position and the inside the car is illuminated by any one of seven colour LED’s with illuminated storage spaces and the dashboard is very futuristic with it’s blue electronic backlight, I truly love the look and feel of the interior!
Now moving onto Davis Moore Nissan in Wichita; first of all, we were just talking to the salesman about credit to buy a car. I asked what an average payment for the car would be; which led to him running my credit 18 times, knocking 19 points off my credit score, despite me specifically saying I didn’t want any hard enquiries on my credit. Then after getting the car home and cleaning it; I discovered a number of dings on the front bumper, cracked upper grill and the lower grill was loose. The car was being used as a shuttle for customers and was filthy on the exterior. I take the car back to the car dealer and say that there as a few body issues with car and he swore up and down that there was no damage on the car when we took possession; I know that I hadn’t dinged the car since owning it, I think I would have remembered; the salesman claims someone had backed into me.
The moral or the story, if you’re going put $20,000 on a car, make sure you examine every part of the car before signing anything; it appears that these dealers will lie through their teeth to make the sale and avoid further fees on their part; I won’t be returning to Davis Moore for my next car!
It’s tax time and inevitably something has happened that means that we will need to spend all of the money we put away, which means no trips to the UK in the immediate to medium term future.
The reason this year is our second car has stopped working, my wife called me at 6:30pm last night telling me her car won’t start, so I pack up the kids and head down to where she works and yes, it turns over but it refuses to start. By the time I arrived my wife had already called our insurance company, Progressive and ordered a tow, but instead of tow truck, they sent out a jump start truck, which wasn’t needed, the battery is fine, plenty of juice to turn over the starter motor.
Long story short, after 2 1/2 and many calls to the Progressive call center and tow company, a tow truck turned up at just after 9pm. The driver informed us that he had only just received the call and had rushed from Augusta which is roughly 22 miles away. Apparently the call for a tow wasn’t even registered in the system until Progressive called the tow company for a third time!
We eventually got home about 9:45pm; thoroughly pissed off with the service we had received, nothing against the tow truck driver, he was really nice and apologetic. But my wife would have been stranded in a less than desirable area of town if I was unable to drive down the highway to join her, which was less than ideal as I had to drag the kids with me as well before we got a chance to eat!
The net result is that we need to buy a new car; the 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier is no longer cost effective to fix, the car is only worth about $1500 now, and my wife needs a reliable car. Which is not the case with the Chevy, it’s broken down four times in the last two years. The $4,350 we have saved will have to go towards a downpayment for a new car, my wife needs reliable transport!
Over the last few days, this website has been bounced around the Internet as I searched for a replacement for Bluehost who have been having issues with uptime recently, three major outages in the last nine months. My contract is almost up and I refuse to accept the slow “shared” server and downtime for another two years. On my hosting journey I tried Dreamhost for $20/12mths and iPage for $12/12mths before eventually finding myself back where I started with 1and1 Internet.
I’ll start with my Dreamhost experience, which certainly wasn’t a dream experience! I got a ‘special’ deal through Lifehacker, $20 for one years hosting plus free domain name; for such a small amount of money I thought it was worth the risk. I added my website domain name to their control panel, changed the nameservers with my registrar but after five hours; no DNS zone had been created. The result of this inaction resulted in my website being down for three hours; so I switched the nameservers back to Bluehost to restore the website. Further to the aforementioned experience, connectivity to the server was poor; it took three attempts to upload my 460MB website via SFTP.
Moving onto iPage; their control panel is much better, it created the requisite DNS records and started working within a few hours with no downtime. Uploading 460MB of files and importing the mySQL database went without a hitch and the website appeared to work; until about 18 hours later when I attempted to log into my WordPress admin system and it threw a 500 Internal Server Error. Nothing had changed, the files were the same, the database was the same, the domain name is the same but for some inexplicable reason it didn’t work the same. I had only paid $12 for 12 months so wasn’t even going to mess with finding a workaround for a problem that didn’t exist on Bluehost!
I wasn’t going to extend my stay with Bluehost for the aforementioned uptime issue and I wasn’t going to go to another sub $10/month host so elected to give 1and1 Internet another try, buying their “Performance” package at $15 per month. I could have gotten it for $10.99 if I committed to 12 months hosting but given my previous bad experiences with 1and1 Internet USA, I didn’t want to take the risk of losing $132; I don’t trust money back guarantees, again from previous experiences with hosts. Depending on my experiences this time around, I might move my work server to 1and1.
Long story short, I messed with overclocking my AMD Radeon HD6770 and it locked up my PC every time I booted. Microsoft in their infinite wisdom decided to remove the F8 safe-mode functionality in Windows 8 so the only way to access safe mode is to interrupt [power off] the boot process, which brings up the auto-repair system. Why Microsoft removed the F8 functionality is beyond me!
I went through many more steps than I am going to describe here; you don’t need to be bored with the full tedious process. What you need to do is power off during boot up; power back on and select “advanced repair options” >>> “troubleshoot”, >>> “advanced options” >>> “Windows startup settings” and finally “restart”. When your PC restarts; press F4 or F5 to enter safe-mode.
Once booted into safe-mode, navigate to “C:\Users\<-username->\appdata\local\ATI\ACE” and delete the three files in the ACE directory; these files will be recreated when you reboot your computer, the appdata directory is hidden, so you’ll need to check the “Hidden Items” box on the view tab to see it. Reboot and everything is reset to defaults in Catalyst Control Center, so you can try to overclock again or like me, leave well enough alone, I’ll never get those two hours back!
Hopefully this little bit of advice will help you not have to spend two or more hours try to find a fix!