You’d have to think Seb Vettel and the lads (no lasses) at Ferrari would feel like they have just gone a few rounds with Kenny Hayne and the lads and lasses assisting at the royal commission after Sunday night’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Talking of Singapore, you have to go and see Crazy Rich Asians, which is very funny (particularly if you have spent any time in Lion City), is clearly funded by the government tourism department (the place looks like a combination of Portofino, Seljalandsfoss and Hobbiton) and has more than $10 million worth of high-priced metal like a BMW i8, Bentley Bentayga, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Huracan, Mercedes-AMG GT, McLaren 650S, Rolls-Royce Wraith Land Rover Defender and a Jaguar XJ.
Of course, every car in the smallest but richest country in the world is expensive. The government really wants you to take the bus so with a bit of fiscal magic a $17,000 Mitsubishi ASX becomes $104,000 in Singapore.
Anyway, back to Seb and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at the office.
Until Sunday night, Seb held a record four wins on this track (which is really the scariest F1 track in the world with only iron and steel to stop you if you get distracted by your iPhone ringing or in Hamo’s case scrolling through his display screen in the steering wheel at 189km/h so he could tell his two mums, Carmen and Linda, about the lap record he’d just set).
Ferrari had the faster cars and expected to win. But Hamo’s unbelievable driving combined with the on-track strategy of Mercedes trounced Ferrari again with Hamo equalling Seb’s four wins, setting an all-time lap record and leaving Max and Seb eight and 40 seconds behind.
Watch the Russian GP next week on Foxtel (live and ad-break free) to see Hamo, who I now believe, based on his past few races, is one of the greatest if not the greatest F1 driver ever, in action. (Please send all abusive emails directly to the acting business editor, Andy White.)
Talking of the motherland (for some) I missed you at the Goodwood Revival where persons of a certain age live out their upper-class fantasies over three days of wearing tweeds, trilbies, furs and frocks while the women wear even better vintage schmutter.
Meanwhile Bonhams went on to sell a 1964 Shelby Cobra 289ci competition roadster for a record $2.4m. I hate to admit it but I really don’t see the appeal in these cars (except for the history and noise).
I would have spent the $2m-plus on the 1990 Jaguar XJR-11 group c sports prototype. Seriously, have a look at the pic. It even has the Silk Cut ciggie stickers on it. One for the kiddies there.
I know we should have all got together and crowd-funded the ex-Keith Richards, 1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GT ($807,535). Keith doesn’t like flying so he drove this to most of the Stones’ European gigs. I’m reliably informed you can still smell the Silk Cuts and other smoking materials in the car.
Now that we’ve heard some highlights from the car insurance industry at Ken’s commission isn’t it time the Feds had a look at the rest of the car industry. I have had an avalanche of really distressing emails from readers about the state of their new cars and the treatment they’ve got from dealers. If I haven’t answered you, I will, but there’s a huge number, most of which I don’t write about but do try to help. If your dealer is still privately owned then it’s probably the manufacturer screwing you over like the manufacturers are screwing their dealers.
Apart from the ACCC, which looks at the big picture, there is no one else who has your back. A couple of weeks ago I said go to your state fair-trading office. I apologise. That was wrong, they are a waste of time.
We are still working on the issue of Lindsay Neilson’s Honda because it highlights all that’s wrong in the industry.
Lindsay took delivery of a 2017 Honda R in November. It’s been off the road with serious mechanical issues for a quarter of the time she has owned it. Honda eventually replaced the camshaft and cylinder head. Clearly Honda didn’t reset the ECU because the indicator is telling her every 5km that the tyres are flat. Honda initially said it couldn’t comment. Honda Darwin wouldn’t comment. Honda boss Hiroyuki Shimizu didn’t comment but Lauren Hunt from Honda’s external PR firm did, saying “under Honda’s New Vehicle Warranty and the ACL, and our commitment to customer service, Honda Australia is satisfied that it has properly and fairly addressed this matter”.
Honda had said earlier it had met its warranty obligations by conducting repairs and “supplying a free loan hire vehicle”.
Well no. Honda gave Lindsay a $70-a-day allowance for a hire car to cover a car that costs her $94 day to own.
So, we spoke to the architect of Australia’s consumer law, Craig Emerson.
“A product must be fit for purpose and with this case it could be a breach of consumer law,” Dr Emerson said. The former minister for consumer affairs is looking at Lindsay’s case for us.
The ACCC explanation of your rights under consumer law says when this type of major failure happens and your car cannot be fixed or it is too difficult to fix your car within a reasonable time, you are due a refund, replacement or repair.