Posted on August 19, 2014
Lewis Hamilton extended his world drivers championship lead to 10 points after taking victory at Suzuka on Sunday afternoon ahead of team mate and championship rival Nico Rosberg and current world champion Sebastian Vettel. But the main story of the Japanese Grand Prix is the horrific accident involving Marussia driver Jules Bianchi, everything else seems incredibly unimportant.
The Frenchman lost control of his car as rain fell steadily heavier at the same corner that Sauber’s Adrian Sutil went off on the previous lap and ploughed into the recovery vehicle that was removing Sutil’s car. The force of the impact was so great that it actually lifted the recovery vehicle in the air with Bianchi’s car going underneath. It truly is a horrific and sickening accident, the worst in years.
Bianchi was taken to a local hospital where emergency surgery was performed before being transferred to intensive care where he is on a ventilator, but his condition is said to be stable.
Back to the race itself, it got under way behind the safety car because conditions were considered to be too dangerous to go racing and after just 1 1/2 laps; the red flag was thrown and the grid followed the safety car into the pitlane. The race was once again restarted 20 minutes later once the rain had subsided; again behind the safety car with the race finally getting started on lap 10; but not before Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari lost all power and ground to a halt on track, water in the electrics I’d guess.
There were no notable changes in position off the restart as the drivers felt their way forward on the wet track. But Jenson Button elected to make one of his trademark calls in tricky conditions to come in for intermediate tyres, which by lap 14 seemed inspired as it had catapulted him into a podium position. But it wasn’t to be for the Briton; a forced steering wheel change at this second pit-stop dropped him back to fifth spot, where he finished the race. Team mate Kevin Magnussen had the same problem and a steering wheel change was required, again I’m guessing water in the electronics.
During the middle phase of the race; Red Bull who had elected for a wet setup in qualifying were flying along. Both Red Bull drivers overtaking both Williams drivers in two laps, Vettel passing both Felipe Massa and Valteri Bottas into the hairpin under the bridge while Daniel Ricciardo overtook the Williams duo through the Dunlop Curves on consecutive laps for forth an fifth places, which later turned into third and fourth because of Button’s electrical gremlins causing a steering wheel change.
After following Rosberg around for 28 laps; Hamilton pounced into turn 1 on lap 29 as the German went defensive, Hamilton swept around the outside on the faster line to take the lead. It was quite obvious how much Hamilton was being held up by Rosberg, who was seemingly struggling with tyres, two laps after the overtake, Hamilton had pulled out a four second lead, eventually finishing almost 10 second ahead of his team mate and championship rival as the red flag came for Bianchi’s accident.
It was a good race with all the weather related dramas but there will forever be a dark cloud over the Japanese Grand Prix 2014 because of Bianchi’s life threatening crash; my thoughts are with his friends and family; I hope that the Frenchman can pull through this and come back better than ever.
2014 Japanese Grand Prix Results
Lewis Hamilton took the lead in the world drivers championship after taking victory at the Singapore Grand Prix thanks to Mercedes team mate and former championship leader Nico Rosberg failing to get off the start line with electrical gremlins, which ultimately led to his retirement on lap 14.
Off the line; Hamilton made a great start to lead into turn 1; while the Red Bull duo battled into the first turn with Sebastian Vettel getting ahead of Daniel Ricciardo; but both Red Bull drivers were overtaken by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso before having to give back second to Vettel to avoid a penalty for exceeding track limits and gaining an advantage. I believe Alonso was lucky to only have to give back one place; the pass on Ricciardo was not complete before going off track in my view.
Despite leading for most of the race; Hamilton had to make a third stop for tyres near the end of the race while Vettel and Ricciardo were trying to complete the race with just two stops. The final stop went well for Hamilton, managing to get out ahead of Ricciardo and just a couple of seconds behind Vettel. The Briton soon caught and overtook Vettel, who was on tyres 18 laps older than Hamilton’s.
Fernando Alonso missed out on a podium taking the chequered flag in fourth place. Was the Ferrari just not quick enough or did the timing of the safety car compromise his race? It’s touch and go; but I believe he probably would have finished in fourth regardless; Red Bull clearly have a faster race car.
Williams managed to get a decent result with Felipe Massa using a very aggressive tyre strategy for fifth. The Brazilian nursing his car across the line with 38 lap old tyres. The same strategy did not work out for stablemate; Valteri Bottas, who could only manage 11th place under the lights of Singapore.
Personally, other than the Mercedes reliability dramas I thought that it was a fairly dull race by this years standards, so I will stop here in regard to the actual race action. Instead let’s talk about the new radio communications stupidity. As I wrote previously, there has been a clampdown on car and driving instruction over the radio, which was relaxed somewhat to just driving instruction; but…
McLaren are protesting that Red Bull gave “driving” instruction to Daniel Ricciardo telling the Aussie to stay off the curbs to protect the KERS batteries. Eric Boullier believes this was a coded message to Ricciardo and nothing to do with car reliability. The truth is, it might well have been, but the issue is the rule, it’s always open to abuse, it’s a stupid rule that causes more problems than it solves.
2014 Singapore Grand Prix Results
After the Italian Grand Prix there was rumblings of discontent from fans (supposedly) about the amount of radio chatter in regard to telling drivers how to drive the car, such as settings changes, apex speeds, riding the brake pedal etc. I say supposedly because I never heard any one of my F1 loving friends complain about the broadcasted radio messages during the Monza F1 race.
The simplest solution would have been to stop broadcasting the radio messages, but that is not what happened. Instead the FIA decided to ban most radio chatter, going a step further, banning coded messages as well. Article 20.1 of F1’s sporting regulations states “The driver must drive the car alone and unaided.” Which is stupid in modern F1, there is so much to manage in the 2014 spec 1.6 V6 hybrid systems that it’s impossible for a driver to drive when he has to monitor a million different variables.
If we are going down the drive alone and unaided route, we need to step back, have basic engines without fuel limits and let’s make all cars manual transmission as well; seven speed manual H-gate gearbox with foot clutch. Let’s make it about the driver again and not who has the best electronics.
I can understand a ban on tuition of drivers on how to drive over the radio, these are supposedly the World’s best 22 drivers; but stopping the flow of information from the engineer about car parameters is stupid. The FIA wanted this new technologically advanced formula, the added radio chatter is of their own making. If fans don’t like the radio comms, stop broadcasting it instead of punishing the teams who are just trying to get to the end of the race with this brand new engine technology.
I do wonder what effect this radio ban will have on the outcome of this weekend’s race in Singapore? will we see cars running out of fuel or grinding to a halt due to being in the wrong engine mode? It’s absolutely crazy to enforce a rule like this two thirds of the way through the season with a weeks notice, I don’t understand the logic of FOM and the FIA’s decision making process in these matters.
After my wife lost her job; I’ve had to cancel our medical insurance for two reasons; firstly, while she is out of work; we need every penny we can get so $340 extra a month is a lifeline; secondly the insurance premium would rise to $475 every two weeks; which accounts for 41% of my income. Previously our insurance premium was $170 every two weeks, now my wife no longer works for the same company, we’ve lost that perk and thanks to Obamacare, we’ll get fined for no insurance!
The affordable care act works for lower income families; but the middle classes that are 30+ are being totally screwed by Obamacare. More educated people who have higher paying jobs don’t get the subsidy that lower earners do. But even with my wife working; our income is still only about $60k, so after rent, car payment, household bills and groceries; paying $431 for the cheapest available insurance premium is not affordable. I am at my wits-end worrying about this situation!
Not only is insurance prohibitively expensive for the average person; the coverage is a joke; paying $431 for a family of four and before they start covering a cent; we have to pay $12,600 before insurance starts covering anything; under their “after deductible” clause as far as I can determine.
People who complain about the state of the NHS healthcare system in my homeland of the UK should come live in America for a year. They will appreciate a truly socialized healthcare system much more once they see how US citizens get screwed. And now the government are forcing us to buy medical insurance or face a significant fine come 2017. It really is a joke of a medical system!
Addendum: Just to clarify; I am not claiming Obama’s Affordable Care Act is all bad; it’s brilliant for those with pre-existing conditions and those on a low income. But Americans are forced to buy medical insurance or face a tax penalty plus middle class, aged 30+ families are paying more than what is affordable for them, forcing them to make hard choices on what’s important in their lives.
Previously I wrote about how badly my wife was being treated by the now “retired” (read: forced out) regional manager, anyway, you can read about that whole diabolical situation right here. So the new manager comes in and my first impression is that he is a “Special & Spam” kind of manager, one week later, that assessment is proven to be true. Further to that, a temp has more responsibility than my wife, who is the assistant manager, seriously what they actual fuck is going on here?
My wife is being frozen out of everything; no-one is talking to her and as I mentioned the temp who is very buddy, buddy with the manager is doing the assistant managers tasks while my wife is acting as a glorified leasing agent. In the meantime the two new regionals are consistently blaming my wife for things that happened before she became manager and even events from files from a time before the management company had taken over this property. They are constantly cutting my wife off mid sentence and freezing her out, refusing to listen to her despite being the only person who had worked there at the property for more than two weeks, despicable behavior from the managers.
The latest bullshit that the regionals are suggesting is that my wife and the former manager, who had managed to escape to another property had not been adhering to the resident selection criteria. Which is not the case; with the exception of a couple of instances where the deposed regional manager signed off on those exceptions. this has moved from harassment to victimization now!
The situation as I see it is; the property manager and regional managers are trying to discredit my wife, making it look like she isn’t fulfilling her assistant manager duties, so ultimately they can fire her. I was really pushing for my wife to stick with it as I thought that it was an isolated incident with the now deposed regional manager, but I was wrong. My estimation of he company has dropped significantly in the past two weeks. Should my wife find another position; I want her to just walk out with no notice, these people don’t deserve that courtesy after the way she has been treated!
The biggest issue is that my wife doesn’t like confrontation so she is just taking this treatment on the chin. I, on the other hand am the polar opposite, if there’s an issue I will tackle it head on. For example, if someone cut me off mid sentence and refused to share information with me that is vital for me to do my job, I would get in their faces. I am fighting the urge to drive to the corporate office and let rip with both barrels right now, no-one deserves to be treated like this in the workplace.
Guess what? 10 minutes after I finished writing this article; I got a call from my wife saying that she has been fired for a list of reasons which were completely fabricated by the current and former regional managers, like I said, my wife was setup to be fired from the very start. I can’t say too much more as we are investigating the possibility of taking legal action, I believe we have a case based upon the EEOC guidelines. One thing is for sure, we have plenty of witnesses, even the real estate personnel manager had heard what was happening at the property.
Update [Sep, 15 2014, 11:48]: This weekend just passed; my wife kept on receiving calls from the property’s emergency maintenance system, the chocolate teapots at the property had not changed the notification number. The result was that my wife had to log into the system to stop it calling every 15 minutes and chase up the new manager about these calls. I sent an Email to the regional manager and top brass of the company basically saying “my wife has been gone for a week and no-one had the foresight to change the contact number?”, I do not suffer fools kindly, especially when the one of the reasons for my wife’s dismissal was disorganization; while the two regionals and property manager couldn’t organize a contact number change for their phone system.
My dislike of America’s lax gun laws and second amendment rights complete with gun show loopholes has been well publicized since relocating to the United States six years ago. But this story is truly shocking; excuse the language, but why the FUCK would someone pay a reported $200 to allow their nine year old daughter to fire an Uzi, a 9mm sub-machine gun? The end result being a dead instructor and more than likely a deeply traumatized child and the police has decided that criminal charges were not appropriate, gun culture in the US is out of control in my opinion!
The bigger question should be why on Earth does local and federal law allow minors access firearms at all? In 30 US states including the state I live in, Kansas has no lower age limit on shotgun and rifle ownership, yes, you heard that right, a 2 year old could own and fire a shotgun or rifle, what the fuck is wrong with this country’s elected officials? In my opinion, it’s time for a massive overhaul of guns laws, first of which should be federalization of gun laws, then close the gun show loophole and require government mandated psychological evaluations before a firearm is sold.
I truly don’t understand why the second amendment can not be amended further to limit gun access with gun crime becoming more common plus the NRA nutcases stating on national TV that they need semi/auto weapons to defend themselves from the government. Somehow I think the government has something better than a SMG to fight with should the government want to attack it’s own people. In the United States, there are over 11,000 murders (homicide) each year and almost 800 deaths from accidental discharge of firearms, just using those two stats, that’s 32 deaths per day.
It also seems that law enforcement can’t be trusted with guns either with the two needless fatal shootings in the St Louis, MO area recently, Micheal Brown was shot six times in Ferguson, MO, twice in the head and then 10 days later, Kajieme Powell, who was known to have mental issues was shot dead by two officers in St Louis. It’s obvious that guns present a clear danger in today’s society.
As a father of two; every day I seriously consider not sending my children to school for the fear of some gun crazed lunatic shooting up their schools. After the Sandy Hook shooting, the president and vice president promised swift change, but nothing changed. After each school shooting, there is outrage, then the outrage fades and it all gets forgotten, that is; until the next school shooting.
I am still fucking angry about Sandy Hook and all the school shootings that came before and after. Government in this country are pussies; they are afraid of the backlash from the NRA and other idiotic pro gun organizations. C’mon grow a set of balls and regulate gun sales properly federally.
I call on President Obama and Vice President Biden to use some of their executive powers to enforce tighter rules on guns in the United States. The original meaning of the right to bare arms has been twisted by modern society, time for an update to the second amendment to bring it in line with the realities of modern society, 220 years have passed since the second amendment, wake up America!
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo benefited from the in-fighting between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes camp to claim his third victory of the year at Spa Francorchamps ahead of Rosberg and Williams’ Valteri Bottas in what has to be considered a controversial race in Belgium.
The controversy came courtesy of Mercedes when Rosberg tried to drive around the outside of Hamilton at Les Combes on lap 2, but instead of yielding to the race leader, Rosberg left his nose in a position where it was going to be hit when Hamilton took the racing line. Some will say racing incident; but from my understanding of the rules; the chasing driver has to yield unless he is more than half way alongside the leading driver, in which case, the leading driver needs to give space. Rosberg was not halfway alongside Hamilton; his front wheel was in line with Hamilton’s rear wheel.
The net result is that a certain 1-2 finish went begging as Hamilton suffered a left rear puncture, which ultimately saw him retire from the race with a few laps remaining and Rosberg needed to pit for a new front wing which cost him and Mercedes victory, finishing 3.3 seconds behind Ricciardo.
Williams’ Bottas impressed again with his forth podium in five races, putting his much more experienced team mate Felipe Massa in the shade once more; the Brazilian could only manage 13th place, 10 places behind the young Finnish driver, given a race winning car, Bottas is a future WDC.
In the Ferrari camp; Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth ahead of his more illustrious team mate Fernando Alonso, who could only manage seventh place in Spa. It just wasn’t Alonso’s day, he picked up a penalty immediately as mechanics struggled to get his car started on the grid, meaning his team were still on the grid when the 15 second warning sounded, which earned him a five second stop/go penalty which the Spaniard took during his first pit stop. Alonso did get some luck, getting promoted from eighth to seventh place because of Kevin Magnussen’s 20 second time penalty.
Jenson Button finished solidly in the points in Spa claiming sixth place, which should have been seventh but for McLaren team mate Magnussen’s time penalty which demoted the Dane to 12th. I am a Button fan and have been for a long time; but he really hasn’t impressed that much, he is beating his team mate in the points, but not by a large margin as you would expect from a 15 year veteran.
Sebastian Vettel, team mate of race winner, Ricciardo finished the race in fifth place after a late charge saw him pass, Alonos, Button and Magnussen. The four time world champion has been disappointing this season in general in comparison to relative rookie team mate Ricciardo who has claimed three victories and leads the German by 58 points, which indicates one of two things, either Sebastian was flattered by Red Bull’s previous cars or Daniel really is that great a driver!
I hate to say it Hamilton fans; but I really don’t think this will be his year. The Briton has had an incredible run of bad luck and now seemingly being deliberately taken out by his team mate this weekend. Hamilton claiming Rosberg admitted as much in the team debrief, which seemed to be backed up somewhat by Toto Wolff’s comments, although Rosberg has publicly denied the allegation. Whatever you choose to believe; the fact is that Rosberg has extended his lead over his Mercedes stablemate Hamilton to 29 points with his second place finish and Hamilton’s DNF.
2014 Belgian Grand Prix Results
Today, I got a text from my wife which read “I lost my position, I feel like a complete and total failure, I’m sorry”. My wife was made manager of the troubled property where she has served for two years as assistant manager four weeks ago and now she has been stripped of her position before being given a chance to prove her worth; I am fucking pissed because she was set-up to fail from the outset by the regional manager. My wife already has an inferiority complex due to her upbringing and this bullshit has just pushed her further under; and nothing I say will change the way she feels.
The bottom line here is that my wife did not fail, she was not given the tools to succeed; the property has zero money because of the regional manager / owners decisions over the past two years which put the property in this dire state. My wife was not allowed to make decisions at all; the regional manager, who is starting to go senile I might add, overrode her every decision, how can she be blamed for what has happened over the past month when she hasn’t been allowed to manage?
The same regional manager was acting as a general contractor overseeing tradesmen getting down units back up, doing a piss poor job I might add, sending tradesmen to units that had already been completed and worse, sending them to units that people had already moved into. There’s more; he also was refusing to do make readies on units that people were scheduled to move into; basically saying that unit was not scheduled so the new resident would have to wait, are you kidding me?
Oh, there’s more, he also decided to change the whole way the office is run despite the existing system working for more than two years. Also the regional manager decided to start wiping vital move-in/move-out information from the board, meaning people showed up to move in and the office staff were unaware that they were scheduled to move in, often with no unit for them to move into.
Now we get to the thing that really made my blood boil; days after my wife started her new position; he indicated that she would have to work late + weekends; or he would find someone else who would. I was ready to go down there and beat the crap out of this asshole. But my wife put in the hours, often working 12+ hours a day just trying to catch up because the regional manager, oh yes, he’s a regional for one property, wouldn’t leave her alone to get her work done during office hours. Clearly he didn’t think my wife was upto the job, so why the fuck did he even offer her the position?
The regional manager is now going to retire at the end of next week; probably being pushed as he has had complaint after complaint against him, and not just from members of staff; residents were calling the corporate office to complain. We will never know whether my wife can really manage the property as she won’t get the opportunity to do so with the current regional manager gone.
The upside is my wife has only been demoted back to assistant manager at her previous pay-rate, which ironically will be more. The pay upgrade to property manager was only the equivalent of 0.25 per hour which was salaried, now she’ll get the 0.25 less per hour but overtime pay starts immediately after going over 40 hours. And the biggest bonus is that she can go in at 9am and come home at 6pm; which is better for our personal life, which has been strained to say the least since taking the promotion. I was getting increasingly pissed that our kids hardly got to see their mother and I never got any personal time with my wife, I firmly believe you work to live, not live to work.
I think this demotion is for the best, someone else can deal with the managerial bullshit that comes with the property, and there is a hell of a lot of it! I just hope that she isn’t overlooked for future managerial opportunities at less troubled properties as she did not fail, she was set-up to fail by the owner and regional manager, it’s impossible to succeed if you are not given the tools to do so!
Update [Aug, 25 2014, 17:08]: My wife arrived in work this morning, only to hear from a vendor that she is being fired; and the vendor claims his got this information from the outgoing regional manager. I call the regional and he confirmed that my wife is being let go. I go visit my wife at the property and take her to lunch and tell her what was said and she calls the new regional manager for the property; and that regional says; we have no further plans to make changes to the staff at the property. Later in the day, I call the VP of the company and he confirms that no changes were planned. So it looks like the former regional started this rumour to cause my wife further stress and worry. I have to trust that we are not being lied to now, I sincerely hope that’s not the case!
Today we got a official looking mailer with my name, car make, model and year on the front, which on initial inspection gives the impression that it’s from your car manufacturer. The letter states “THIS LETTER IS TO INFORM YOU THAT IF YOUR FACTORY WARRANTY HAS EXPIRED, YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING FOR ANY REPAIRS…” Note the IF in the statement, this is how they can get away with it, but in reality many people, myself included fail to register the “IF” in the text.
The text goes onto say “PLEASE RESPOND BY 08/19/2014 AND MENTION THIS LETTER FOR A $100 DISCOUNT”, and in larger text below “IMPORTANT VEHICLE PROTECTION INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL IMMEDIATELY” with their phone number 1-800-420-8055. I give this number in the hope that people searching this number online will be linked to this blog article so they don’t get fooled by this misleading marketing and super aggressive customer representatives when you do call!
This company, Vehicle Protection Center operates out of Saint Peters, MO 63376, see the complaints about this company on their profile on the Better Business Bureau website [Link]. Clearly this mailer is designed to mislead car owners and this sort of misleading advertizing needs to clamped down on; but unfortunately the US government allows for this sort of marketing practice.
I’m a massive skeptic; so I rarely take anything at face value, which is how I came to write this article after I Googled the number and found lots of negativity surrounding this company’s tactics. Obviously I didn’t call the number listed on the mailer after [or before] reading complaints online!
In addition; the question has to be asked, how did they get this information? The only organizations that should have this information is; Davis Moore of Wichita, KS, Kansas DMV, Progressive Insurance and Capital One Auto Loans, did one of these organizations sell our information or did Vehicle Protection Services acquire the information illegally? Either way, I am not happy that it’s out there!
Update [Oct, 11 2014, 14:43]: In addition to another two mailers from Vehicle Protection Center, yesterday we received a different mailer on fetching green paper from a company using similar scare tactics called Vehicle Services Department, tel: 1-800-200-7155, otherwise known as Auto Assure, LLC of 6400 Pinecrest Dr Suite 400, Plano, TX 75024, tel: 972-202-9761 [BBB Profile].
Yet again we see another example of how money can pervert the course of justice with a German court taking $100m to drop the court proceedings against F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone.
You have to appreciate the irony of the situation, Ecclestone was up on bribery charges which could have seen him spend 10 years in a German jail, but he paid [bribed] the court to buy his freedom.
The $100m fine was offered in lieu of facing a guilty verdict on the grounds of Ecclestone’s advanced age and other [undisclosed] circumstances. I call bullshit on that, a $100m fine for someone with an estimated wealth of $4.2bn is pocket change, making a mockery of the legal justice system.
While Ecclestone walks away scot-free, a $100m fine really is a joke, Gerhard Gribkowsky, the man who the F1 supremo paid $44m to ensure that CVC Capital Partners got the nod over other companies to buy FOM (Formula One Management) was jailed for 8 1/2 years back in 2012.
What I find amazing is that Judge Peter Noll asked Ecclestone if you could raise $100m and deliver it within a week? Of course he can; his overall fortune is over 400 times that amount, it’s legal corruption at it’s finest. Former Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger agrees saying “it allows rich people to go free, whereas the less well-heeled could face prison.” It’s scandalous!!!