F1 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix Results – Ferrari continue to grow!

A very interesting weekend at Bahrain.  Mercedes were kept honest by an increasingly competitive Ferrari.

At the start of the race day the two Mercedes cars were split by Ferrari on the grid. Mid race was dominated by tactical tyre choices and pit stops. And on the final lap  simultaneous brake failures on both Mercedes meant that Hamilton just managed to cliing on to his first place, with Raikkonen overtaking Rosberg to finish second.  Vettel made lots of mistakes (uncharacteristically) to claim 4th.

Other items of note:

  • Williams continue to grow following a great fifth place for the excellent Valtteri Bottas.
  • Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo took sixth even though his engine EXPLODED as he approached the finish line!!!
  • A dramatic improvement for McLaren-Honda with Alonso finishing the race and looking to be in contention for points until the last third of the race.

So Hamilton has won three of the first four races.  However with growing competition from Ferrari, and possibly Williams, it could be the start to the best season in years.

The next F1 race weekend is Friday 8th May in Spain.

What Car? Auto Reliability Survey Results

What Car? have issued the results of their 2015 UK warranty survey on the reliability of cars of between 3 to 8 years old.  It showed that autos made by Japanese manufacturers were the most reliable, and (surprisingly) those made by the Germans amongst the worst.

The top three were Top of the poll was Honda, Suzuki and Toyota.  Whilst the worst was the (German owned) Bentley, with Porsche, Mercedes Benz and Audi just above.

It should be noted that repair costs were a factor in the scoring mechanism, and spare parts for a Bentley or a Porsche are going to be a lot more than for a Honda or a Suzuki.

1 Honda
2 Suzuki
3 Toyota
4 Chevrolet / Mazda
6 Ford
7 Lexus
8 Skoda
9 Hyundai / Nissan / Subaru
12 Daewoo / Peugeot
14 Fiat
15 Citroen
16 Smart
17 Mitsubishi
18 Kia
19 Vauxhall
20 Seat
21 Renault
22 Mini
23 Volkswagen
24 Rover
25 Volvo
26 Saab
27 Land Rover
28 BMW / MG
30 Jaguar
31 SsangYong
32 Mercedes-Benz
33 Chrysler
34 Audi
35 Jeep
36 Porsche
37 Bentley


Subprime borrower? Some Auto Loan tips for you.

Do you know your credit score? What it means? How it affects your chances of getting a loan, how much you can borrow, and ultimately getting on the road?

AutoTrader.com say know your credit score as its the first piece of information a lender asks for: “It’s the best tool to determine your credit status and the interest rate for which you qualify”. In 2014 around 14 million subprime borrowers acquired new and used-car loans, out of approximately 25 million new and used car buyers in the nonprime (601-660), subprime (501-600) and deep-subprime (<500) (Data from Experian Automotive).

So what is the best way to prepare for your purchase in advance?

1. The first would be to cleaning up your credit report where possible. It is possible that it could contain errors or out-of-date information. Any of the three major credit-reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) could have made a mistake.

2. Next, work out how much can you afford? It is easy to get carried away when faced with looking at lovely shiny metal. But remember all the costs involved in running your car, and your life. As a rule of thumb you should not be paying out more than 10% of your income in car loan payments. Then you should also budget for fuel, tyres, servicing, insurance. The costs soon mount up.

3. You could need up to 10% deposit, so make sure you have that amount saved. And ideally that should be at least $,1000. So if you are getting a loan for $8,000 you will still need a $1,000 down payment.

4. Before applying make sure you have all the paperwork you need to prove things like income, residency and a record of on-time payments. If you can show a good credit history the more likely you will be seen as an acceptable risk by a lender.

5. Secure your loan before visiting the dealership. You should already have your maximum purchase price secured and this means you can not be pushed in to a higher purchase price. You can apply online here at 247AutoFinance.com and we give you access to dealerships across all states and cities.

6. Now the fun begins. What kind of car do you want? A new one or an old one?

Remember to check its service history, that the mileage and the log-book tally, the tyres have plenty of tread. Look for any leaks under the car. Is the wear on the drivers seat in line with the mileage of the car? Check the oil levels – if they are too low then maybe the car hasn’t been looked after very well. Make sure the car is cold when it is started up as the dealer may have warmed it up already. Listen for any unusual squeaks, rattles or bumps when driving.

2015 Formula 1 Season Starts This Week


A sport that has been growing in popularity in North America is Formula 1.  And for good reason.  The years proceeding the 2014 championship were dominated by the Red Bull Racing Team and their driver Sebastian Vettel.  Whilst the visceral wail of the V8 engines was intoxicating, the drivers and constructors championships were becoming predictable.

However that all changed for the 2014 session, in which the FIA took the brave decision to radically change the series.  By removing the V8s and swapping for 6 cylinder plus electrical hybrid systems and introducing stringent fuel efficiency rules the FIA made F1 relevant to the challenges facing today’s motor industry.

But what would the racing be like…?

Well 2014 proved to be one the most exciting years for F1 ever.  The once dominant force of Red Bull was over shadowed by Mercedes.  And the once dominant driving skills of Sebastian Vettel were overshadowed by the Australian Daniel Ricciardo (possibly spurred on by the thought of .

And to crown it we had one of the most exciting season-long team-mate driver battles ever in the history of F1.  The rivalry between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg was up there with the likes of Alain Prost vs. Nigel Mansell, and James Hunt vs Niki Lauda.

The head to head battle was full of acrimony, crashes, and season long jostling for position.  In the end it was Hamilton who was victorious as he managed to secure his 2nd world championship in the final race of the season.

So tune in for the start of 2015 in Australia:

  • Practice Friday 13th March
  • Qualifying Saturday 14th March
  • Racing Sunday 15th March

If you don’t want to miss any races you can view the full calendar here.

Formula 1 – How it works

Phew, the 2014 season was unbelievably tense.  The drivers are having a much needed rest before the 2015 season starts in March.  If you are new to the sport and are interested in starting to follow the sport here are the basics.

Formula 1 is a team event that revolves around two championships, The Constructors’ Championship and the Drivers’ Championship.  Each team has two named drivers plus a supporting cast of managers, engineers and test drivers to keep it all working.  There is lots of inter-team rivalry (between each of the constructor teams) and extra intense intra-team rivalry (between the two drivers).

Ten teams will be competing in the 2015 F1 season. Drivers compete individually in the Drivers’ Championship while their combined points go towards the team’s tally in the Constructors’ Championship.  The driver and the team with most points at the end of the season are each crowned World Champions.

In 2014 Mercedes Petronas won the Constructors’ Championship and Lewis Hamilton won the Drivers’ Championship.

In 2015 there will be are 20 races, starting in Australia on 15 March and ending in Abu Dhabi on 29 November.  For each race the winning driver receives 25 points, with descending points allocated down to 10th place – receiving one point:

Points awarded at Formula 1 race weekends

1st – 25 points 6th – 8 point
2nd – 18 points 7th – 6 points
3rd – 15 points 8th – 4 points
4th – 12 points 9th – 2 points
5th – 10 points 10th – 1 point

A race weekend consists of three practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself. On the Friday there are two 90-minute practice sessions, with a 60-minute session on Saturday ahead of a 60-minute qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.  There are three stages to qualifying – Q1, Q2 and Q3.

The race itself cannot run longer than two hours actual driving, unless there is red-flag and it is stopped due to bad weather, a serious accident, etc.  The race can continue after a red-flag but the entire duration of the race cannot exceed 4 hours.

Bad Weather Driving Tips


The lately has been great for the kids, but for those of us that need to drive it has been terrible.  Freezing cold and deep snow.  I’ve seen people driving down the road peering through a tiny hole dug into the snow on their windscreen.  That is not a safe way to drive.

So, with all the snow we have been having we thought we should offer some driving tips (courtesy of our RAC friends from over the pond).

Before you set out:

  • Check tyre tread. Poor tyres do not grip when driving on snow and ice.
  • If you live in an area where snow is common consider changing to winter tyres with deeper tread made from a compound with lower operating temperatures.
  • Use a screen-wash that protects down to at least -35 to prevent the water from freezing.
  • Allow more time in the morning to clear windows and mirrors of ice before setting off.
  • Use lukewarm water or de-icer to defrost the outside of your vehicle. You should never use hot or boiling water
  • Make sure wiper control is switched off before turning the ignition otherwise this could blow the wiper control fuse if they are frozen to the screen
  • Remove snow from the roof of your car. Otherwise breaking sharply could cause snow to fall onto the windscreen and hamper your vision.
  • And remember, you have to get home after your journey.  Keep a snow shovel and a broom in the trunk to help you clear the snow when you set off for home at the end of the day.
  • Consider using snow socks or snow chains.

The following tips should always be followed when driving in the snow:

  • Accelerate gently, use low revs and change up to a higher gear as quickly as possible.
  • You may need to move off in second gear as this will help reduce wheel slip
  • Leave as much as 10 times the normal recommended gap between you and the car in front
  • If you skid, steer gently into it. Do not take your hands off the steering wheel or stamp your foot on the brakes.
  • If the road has not been gritted, beware driving in the wheel-tracks of other vehicles – compressed snow can be more icy than fresh snow
  • Controls such as the brakes, as well as the steering, accelerator and even gear changing should be operated smoothly and slowly.
  • Sunglasses can reduce glare from low winter sun on the snow.
  • Keep your speed down and allow more time to stop and steer.

Please drive carefully and courteously.  Be patient.  It is more likely people will have broken down and roads could be choked or impassable.  And when you get home, build a snow man or have a snow ball fight.

What’s the best Pickup Truck 2014?


Car and Driver announced their editors choice.

If you’ve got stuff to haul or tow – take a look at their choices for the best full-size pickup trucks and best mid-size pickup trucks of 2015.

What about the Ford F-150 I hear you ask?  Check out the Hennesy fettled VelociRaptor here.  Wow!