Start, Melbourne, 2014

Australian GP organisers dismiss race boycott rumours

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Start, Melbourne, 2014In the round-up: Rumours of a potential boycott of the Australian Grand Prix due to questions over Fernando Alonso’s crash are dismissed by the race promoter.


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Australia GP organisers dismiss suggestions race will be boycotted (The Guardian)

"All the teams are coming to Melbourne; they’re excited about the start of the new season, the freight is on its way, Formula One personnel are on site at Albert Park setting up the broadcast and from our perspective it’s 100 % all systems go."

Renault de retour comme écurie ? Rien n’est exclu (BFMTV - French)

"Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says Renault may consider a return to F1 as a full constructor."

Sauber to fight Van der Garde legal action (ESPN)

"We will take all necessary steps to protect our company, this team and its interests."

Max Verstappen: 'I want to break all the records ... That’s what matters' (The Telegraph)

"I want to break other records. I want to break all the records. The records for most victories, for most world titles. That’s what matters."

McLaren play down Alonso memory loss (Reuters)

"McLaren have confirmed Fernando Alonso suffered temporary memory loss in a testing crash last month but played down media reports that the double world champion forgot he was a Formula One driver."

Alonso crash details puzzling to Coulthard (BBC)

"It does not add up. He does not need three days of privacy, he can go to his own private residence and have that."

Wurz keen for GPDA to learn more about Alonso accident (Adam Cooper's F1 Blog)

"The ear accelerometers and the cars data recording should give (once again) an important inside into the accident. Currently it is understood that all the safety precautions of the car worked as intended by the rules‎. So all the rumors of electric shock, etc are false."

A bullshitter's guide to Formula 1 by David Coulthard (GQ)

"Approach drivers with caution, they are very delicate flowers. The fact they are standing there not talking to anyone might look like an invitation to go up and ask about the race, but they may be visualising something and lost in thought. A Grand Prix is the busiest and most important weekend for the driver. The best way to approach them is with not a lot of chat - if you want an autograph just hold out your pad."


Comment of the day

Jean Todt needs to do more than just start a new tender process to fix F1’s shortage of teams:

Todt seems to believe that if he opens the door to say 26 cars there will be a rush of applicants to fill the empty team slots.

One team gone, one barely still here, three on the brink on collapse, only a handful of sponsors on the popular cars… It doesn’t take a genius to work out that F1 is not financially viable any more. Anyone who wants to go racing will take their money elsewhere rather than have it siphoned into CVC’s pockets.

CVC has strangled the life out of F1, and all Todt can say is he will “try to reduce costs”. I bet the applicant forms are flying off the shelf on the back of his cast-iron promise.
Pat Ruadh (@Fullcoursecaution)

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On this day in F1

On this day 45 years ago Jack Brabham scored the final win of his F1 career in the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami. Fellow world champions Denny Hulme and Jackie Stewart joined him on the podium, something which had only happened on six previous occasions.

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  • 89 comments on “Australian GP organisers dismiss race boycott rumours”

    1. Verstappen sure sounds like a 17 year old! Don’t think he’ll win many fans with an attitude like that. Then again, lots of people like Vettel…lol

      1. There’s nothing worse than a formula one driver with ambition.

        1. I have to agree. Disgusts me that he thinks he can make his way to F1 and do something special. Pff

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            7th March 2015, 8:38

            @theessence, are you disgusted when he says “I still need to make big steps.”?

            What should he say? I still have to make HUGE steps? Or, I will never be as good as the other guys?
            Come on, let the guy (or kid) race and show us how good he is.

            1. @coldfly

              I think it reeks of sarcasm mate

              Re @theessence & @tdog

            2. ColdFly F1 (@)
              7th March 2015, 12:02

              @greg-c, thanks, let’s hope so.
              Must be my age, I totally missed it (in the 2nd one that is).

      2. He sounds like a 17 year old, and he is one, so that’s perfectly acceptable

        1. He sounds like Hamilton

          1. Arguably the most popular driver on the grid?

            1. Says who?

          2. There are parallels with how their dads raised Max and Lewis to be open about their ambition, and with the Tough Love treatment. Fancy not talking to your son for a week because he had a bad race! Anthony did something similar in Macau F3 istr. Though I don’t remember Lewis ever sounding quite so uber confident as this. It’s risky, but kinda genuine too.

      3. Max’s words recall those of Nelson Piquet Junior when he started in F1. On the surface, he had total confidence too. Trouble was, there was a rather nervous driver underneath, who hadn’t absorbed the lessons maturity gives, and thus didn’t have the self-confidence to withstand Flavio Briatore-grade criticism. While Nelson was hardly alone in the “insufficient self-confidence” department, he didn’t figure out how to pick himself up from being squashed flat until he went to NASCAR.

        Franz Tost isn’t *quite* as tough a taskmaster as Flavio was, but I do worry that Max may be similarly fragile underneath the ferocious exterior. He’s 17 and could reasonably be expected to not have the mental strength of a 20-year-old… …which makes me wonder yet again at the wisdom of raising him to F1 status this early when better-prepared candidates were in the F1 programme.

        Thinking you can do something special isn’t the issue – every driver thinks that even if some don’t admit to it. It’s the concept that everything will come relatively easy based on an assumption that the future must follow the pattern of the past, combined with not having the protection of maturity (which few 17-year-olds have to the grade F1 requires).

        1. I liked reading your post, but knowing how 17 year olds work, I’m pretty sure Max’s greatest enemy is himself, in what concerns morale and motivation. Saying stuff like this (and having that attitude) will only set him up for disappointment when (if?) he’s not the best driver on the grid right away, or even in a few years.

          Confidence is not something a teenager or a young adult should show or nurture. That’s stuff for experienced people, and drivers, in this case. The young ones need to have humility and humbleness, so they don’t disappoint themselves. Vettel was never arrogant.

          I’m not saying that Verstappen is, a news piece proves nothing, but well…

          1. Off topic

            @Tiago Sà

            Teenagers shouldhave confidence , and buckets of it ,
            What they need to lack is arrogance,

      4. @jarnooo I like that ambition. And I also wonder why you say that about Vettel. Appart from the finger, he’s quite a cool chap.

        1. omarr-pepper
          7th March 2015, 2:14

          @fer-no65 Why is the finger an issue? It’s not the middle finger. I remember Massa made a special fist move when he won races, and you know here in Latin America that fist move IS offensive. Yet nobody complained about it.

          1. omarr-pepper I have no idea… i just mentioned it because it seemed people got annoyed with that finger gesture.

            But Vettel wasn’t arrogant for me…

      5. @jarnooo I hate the fact he is a Verstappen but as of now I quite like him as a prospect and a person.

      6. Sounds like Coulthard, Vettel, and many others, Vettel seems to have been the only big mouth I can recall who actually backed it up, he sure liked to be top of the stats. Maybe Max will do it all, time will tell.

      7. Not everybody can be Kimi Raikkonen.

      8. It is better than having a total PR speaking driver..

      9. I am quite sure there are lots of young people that admire his attitude, so expect more comments like that. His job isn’t to win fans, it is to win races, and that is where I have my misgivings. I think he lacks some of the skills that one would expect at this level of sport, for example there was recently a rather dramatic picture of sparks coming out from under his car as he hit the curb going around a corner. I don’t know how this came about, I don’t know if it was only him that did it or if all the drivers did it, and I have no doubt some people will admire him for doing this, and think he is a fantastic driver for producing such a dramatic “fireworks” display, but to me it suggests either a driver who doesn’t realise he is putting the car in a place on the track where it will suffer unnecessary damage, or a driver who doesn’t care about the damage he is doing to his car. To me, the former shows a lack of skill, while the latter shows a lack of consideration for the consequences of his poor driving, both of which, to me at least, suggest he isn’t quite ready for F1. Yes, this is just one example, but there are other examples of “praise” that I have read or heard on video that to me are really just more examples of what I said above.
        That said, others will say hitting the curb in such a dramatic fashion is a sign of exceptional talent that maybe needs to be slightly fine tuned.
        I think it is unfortunate for Max Verstappen to have been elevated to this level of the sport when I don’t think he has quite got the necessary skills for this level of the sport.

        1. With the Pirelli tyres he is going to have to learn how to drive like a grand mother.

        2. I have never seen anything quite as ridiculous and speculative as this. He gets sparks flying from the car, so he doesn’t have the necessary skills? The guy people are considering the biggest talent in motorsport doesn’t have enough skills? The best Trevor Carlin has ever seen lacks understanding of his driving?
          If you ever actually read anything written be someone who observed him trackside, both in F3 and F1, you will hear how insanely consistent he is, one of the few who can drive the same line time after time, as well as using FPs to try all the various overtaking lines so he is prepared come race time. If that’s not using your skills to become better at driving, I don’t know what is. Like Trevor Carlin said to autosport ‘He doesn’t know the car, doesn’t know the track, but within a few laps he’s just ‘there’. I wouldn’t hesitate to put him in my GP2 car and expect him to be a frontrunner from the off’. Now, I think I have legitimate reasons to trust Marko, Tost, Carlin, Van Amersfoort, the Autosport and Sky pundits and his father, over you, when it comes to his skill (or perceived lack off it).
          Your last sentence will one day leave an entire ostrich egg on your face.

          1. He’s already ahead of Sainz on race pace.. so I expect some points in Melbourne unless something goes wrong. That’s record 2 out of the way, after 1 for youngest starter!

            1. Ahead on race pace? Didn’t know they’d already run a race. Wish I hadn’t missed it.

            2. @robbie That’s what they were doing at Barcelona ;)

    2. I think Renault have missed the best opportunity to return to F1 as a Full constructor, they couldve bought the Caterham team who were already using Renault engines and built on that, where as now they would have to buy Lotus or Manor who currently use different engines, unless they bought Red Bull but dont see Red Bull leaving F1.
      They could build a new team but surely it would’ve made it easier to buy out a team Caterham which wouldve been cheaper, quicker to be competetive and could then build on facilities already in place.

      1. @thed4n1el I don’t think buying a dead team is any good, to be honest. I failt to see how buying Caterham would be a “jump start” for Renault as a chassis manufacturer… for starters, there are debts to sort out…

      2. Neil (@neilosjames)
        7th March 2015, 1:15

        I’d go for Force India if I was buying a team. Good facilities and staff, and they’re struggling financially so probably wouldn’t cost a fortune. Might even get Hulk and Perez (+sponsors) contracts in the bargain.

      3. There’s absolutely no chance they would do that. Red Bull is the works team, and I’m 100% sure they have a bullet proof contract keeping it that way for at least a few years.

    3. Sauber say they will protect the interests of the team. This is obvious. If they did have a contract with a driver (without holes and clauses) then they should honour it, but clearly that’s not in their interests.

      That said, we don’t actually know, so we will just have to find out when the result of this comes through. But if Sauber are wrong then I do hope they pay for it.

      1. The problem is that Sauber is believed to have 3 contracts without holes and clauses (unless Sauber is aware of some such things), and only 2 cars to give them…

        1. Then they are entirely at fault for getting into such a situation

        2. I thought it was 4 of those contracts. Sutil has one, too.

          1. Pretty sure that is correct yes. Although it seems that Sutil has given up on persueing the drive.

            1. Actually, Sauber has another court case from Sutil, according to a report on autoweek who claim AMuS first reported the news. Sutil is suing them for “compensation rather than a forced reinstatement” in Switzerland.
              I honestly feel sorry for the team.

            2. Ah, right @tata, makes sense, especially as Sutil would have received a salary and can now claim loss of earnings while VdGarde would have had to claim a “loss to have to pay for a drive” as far as I can see!

      2. My guess is Sauber will have written the contract so they have the right to not let a driver drive a car at any time they choose. Maybe they wouldn’t get away with this in the consultation stage for a driver with a Word Championship behind them, but they would with a driver who doesn’t have that sort of pedigree.
        I just can’t see them giving van de Grade the offer of a 2015 seat in writing without lots of terms and conditions, yet that is the impression van de Grade gives us, and I suspect he is mistaken.
        Sadly, if I am right, then I can’t see any future for him in F1 because most of the other teams will already have lots of better drivers on “the waiting list”, and taking Sauber to court will only encourage those other teams to employ one of them instead of him.

        1. This is quite unlikely for contracts where the drivers bring funding to the team. Almost in all cases those funds are clearly bound to guarantees with regards to team in FP sessions, tests and/or race drives @drycrust

          1. @bascb : Yes, you are right, because the reason the team was given money on the condition that the driver drove the car in a race or some races, but is that the case? Was money given to Sauber in return for a certain number of races? If that was the case, then I think Sauber’s lawyers would have told their client they should let him race.

            1. Was money given to Sauber in return for a certain number of races? If that was the case, then I think Sauber’s lawyers would have told their client they should let him race.

              They probably calculated the expected fine/costs against the income from Nasr/Ericsson.

            2. Ha, I guess the courts will decide on that really @drycrust. My guess is that some funds were handed over last year in the deal that promised a drive for 2015, but I doubt they paid up front for 2015 as such (indeed it seems one of the reasons for Ericsson beating VdGarde to a seat was him bringing in cash in 2014 already so that the team could make it through the winter).

              I doubt they excplicitly paid money up front for 2015, as it would be pretty clear in such a case that Sauber should either pay that money back or give him the drive. Again, the courts will probably have to decide on the case.

              But its clear that if a driver contract has a funds for seat time mechanism, the team can then not freely decide on their own if whether they will let the driver actually drive.

        2. An arbitration body in Switzerland has already sided with Van der Garde, the Australian court case is to enforce that. Sauber don’t seem to have a way out on this one.

          1. I thought that too @sharoncom. But after reading a bit more on it (everything I could find really) it seems that the Swiss arbitration institution actually put out an oder for Sauber to not act in any way to make the desicion a “fait accompli” until the court/institution can decide on the merits of the case. Its a bit like a referee stopping play in Hockey to decide on a penalty/goal/free kick etc because letting the game go on could hurt one party.

        3. GB (@bgp001ruled)
          7th March 2015, 18:30

          @drycrust, the swiss court already gave him partly right! so there must be something in writing!

    4. I really do worry that people, fans included, have unrealistic expectations for Verstappen. Age irrelevant, he is not proven yet so we will have to see, so I wouldn’t put any form of expectation on him at this stage.

      That said, it’s interesting he is going for records, exactly like Vettel did. Good luck to him!

      1. Well the surprising thing really has been how he has been pumped up as being as good as Senna by those who have seen and talked to him who are relevant to his F1 entry, so it is not really a normal kind of promotion Max has gotten ie. the setting up for failure kind. I haven’t heard any driver being this hyped this way for a long time, just as his young age is unusual and even caused a change in the rules. Ie. there must be something to this lad, but of course you are right we have to see it to believe it. Sounds like we will.

        1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
          7th March 2015, 23:48

          Hypes, expectations, stores from old team bosses, analyses of testing times, judging sparks on pictures … I don’t care who is right or wrong at this moment, but Verstappen’s entry has surely made a story that made f1 2015 exciting. I don’t know how he will pan out, all I know that he was impressive in his career-to-date. But there are many reasons why he could fail miserably too. What Verstappen’s gonna do in 2015 is about the only real question mark for f1 2015, and (unfortunately) about the only reason why I haven’t stopped following f1 after 2014.

    5. I really can’t see how boycotting Australia will have any effect on the McLaren situation.

      However, I have never liked Ron Dennis much, and have always thought he is a bit dodgy, and now here is more reason. First he insisted there was no concussion, and that was a lie. I really don’t understand what is going on but something odd at McLaren, for sure. I don’t trust this official crash report and I’m not believing anything else they say on the matter.

      I believe that they weren’t allowed the footage of the accident (presumably by FOM), which is absolutely ridiculous too.

      1. I think the big problem is that a lot of companies (especially older established companies) still do not grasp modern media and how quickly it reacts. Yes, they have twitter accounts for publicity, but the company PR machine as whole does not react quick enough.

        So, in days of old, they could put out a statement in their own time, once they had a complete picture without giving away too much information.

        However, these days, if a company does not react immediately, there is a vacuum and a perceived lack of information. This vacuum is then filled with conjecture, misinformation, incorrect information and uninformed opinion. This then gets repeated and further distorted.

        The company then reacts with unclear statements (as they do not have all the facts) which does not help matters and will possibly contradict later statements (once they have confirmed more facts).

        By the time the company does put out a formal statement, of any sort, it appears vague, suspicions and too late. As there are more interesting “theories” already doing the rounds….

        This then compounds the issue and combined with all of the above, conspiracy theories begin to form.

        It is just nuts….

      2. @strontium – Your analysis of dodgy Dennis finds total agreement here, can’t really ever trust that fellow on anything minor let alone complex.

        Something has happened and someone is not being totally forthcoming. It could be as innocuous as every concussion is different and maybe Alonso’s situation does not fall into typical parameters and McLaren/Dennis doesn’t know how to handle this. That would be bad enough since any concussion *could* have very serious complications. Especially when the patient *may have* exhibited symptoms of memory loss. Sports leagues and teams are just barely coming into realizing the issues and dealing with them while still continuing their sport/business.

        It could be something as extreme as a bizarre and undetected (or unreported) catastrophic equipment failure that risked Alonso’s life and caused this situation. While possible, this doesn’t seem likely, so far. But, McLaren have left themselves open to extreme speculation caused by the way they have mishandled this entire affair.

        It’s funny that these rumors could have some basis in fact, sort of. Somebody on some teams could have dropped some hints to the right people regarding McLaren and the possibility of unsafe equipment and obfuscation leading to non-participation without proper enlightenment. All’s fair in love and war. Guess it would be McLaren’s own reluctance to tell whatever the truth might be turned against themselves.

        1. There really is a lack of information. How can someone say that he must have been conscious, because the telemetry says he was braking and changing gear until impact, and ignore the steering trace as well? It’s not as if they don’t have it…

          1. I heard there was No telemetry because Bernie put it behind a Foxtel paywall and Ron is to tight :)

    6. A boycott? Oh please. That’s the media at its finest.

      1. @vmaxmuffin

        Boycott !


        Aussies just forked out 150$ million $AUD ( $10 mill USD) :)
        for the next 3 years ,

        There will be no boycott as vmax said ,
        Aus will race come hell or high water to recoup some costs ,

        1. Damn, the AUS$ is in worse shape than I thought. $150M-AUS = $10M-USD….

      2. It seems during preseason the F1 media has too much time on their hands, I’m looking forward to an end of all these pointless speculations and for the racing to start again. Looking forwards to Melbourne, lets go racing!

      3. Poor journalism at their finest.

        An attempt of poking and proding to get some sort of reaction.

        Written by a non enthusiast for the non enthusiast.

        For those in other countries, these F1 articles repeat every single year, along with articles of the same agenda about similar sporting events. Mainly because we’re so lucky to never actually have anything horrible to occur that requires news headlines. But this luckiness of nothing terrible ever occurring burdens our country with 24/7 constant bickering over nothing, and the media attempting to stir something up and create a Home and Away drama.

    7. I think Alonso got electrocuted in Barcelona..

      1. And I think the honda ers malfunctioned and acted as a time machine, temporarily sending alonso back to 1995 and transporting him back to the present day shortly aftet the doctors spoke to him.

        Possibly like back to the future, possibly something along the lines of ‘big’, maybe even something like bill and excellent adventure.

        1. I wrote bill and (fred’s) excellent adventure but used these arrows < instead of brackets forgetting this boards coding. My bad

          1. Ron and Fred’s excellent Adventure .

            Lol :)

        2. Its all coming together now, report said the speed at the time of the impact was around 88mph, it seems Honda may have used a flux-capacitor in their ERS unit.

        3. LMAO +1

          Mclaren did make that time machine video with Jenson and Fernando before the season started. Who knew Fernando would actually go back to 1995 in that modern day delorean?

      2. He also had memory loss for Singapore 08..

    8. The whole boycotting Melbourne came about because someone compared the accident to an aircraft. If one crashes without knowing the cause, they ground the fleet.

      And this is based on not knowing the cause of Alonso’s and rumours of electric shock. Even if that was the cause, there are only two vehicles with that design. No need to ground the other fleets.

      McLaren aren’t stupid, covering something up, and putting drivers in danger with a known potential fault would be criminal. The story here is… there is no story. But then that isn’t great click bait.

    9. Spot on COTD. While I personally would love to see the grid brimming with 26 cars and new teams, the major issues bedevilling the sport vis a vis sky-high costs and prize money distribution, the promotion of the sport by embracing all available media and a halt (at least for now) in pushing the sport behind a wall of quite expensive Pay TV should be addressed before inviting new teams.

      On the Sauber and VDG issue, I think the young man is making a name for himself as someone who may find it difficult for anyone in the future, even outside motor racing, to enter into any deals with him.
      You don’t allow your associations or business dealings to end up in court cases. You may be right but it doesn’t look good on your resume.

      1. Congratulations to Keith and F1Fanatics’ numerous readers on the 10th anniversary of what is in my opinion, the no. 1 place for Formula 1 news and analysis.
        Speaking for myself (and I beleive for very many), I come here everyday for not just the articles from Keith, but also for the informative comments -apart from when people are speculating about whether Alonso got shocked or not:)
        May the next 10 years be even better.

      2. What other option does Van der Garde have? No other team is banging at his door, there just aren’t enough seats and he hasn’t set the world on fire.

        So he either quietly vanishes from peoples memories and never returns to F1 or he has a last ditch attempt, demonstrates his value on track, engages in wheel to wheel races, nurtures their dependence on his results, neglects emotional mistakes, inspires hope in his ability and finally separates entirely to go to another team.

      3. Van der Garde has previous when it comes to taking teams to court when they renege on agreements: remember Spyker?

    10. What happened to Fabio Leimer was downright dirty. Maybe not the most impressive champion GP2 ever saw, but good enough to drive in the top flight of endurance racing on his merit – and he would have easily been a marquee driver in Super Formula.

      1. I must admit, that I have no clue what happened there @jroconnell, could you provide more info?

        1. Had a deal to race for Team Mugen in Super Formula in place until it fell through due to his representative in Japan failing to hold up his end of the bargain.

    11. You know the season’s nearly here when the stories start appearing about the Melbourne GP being under threat. It’s all part of the traditional build-up. But what’s the alternative race this year – usually there’s one in New York, or Sydney, or the Moon.

      1. @bullfrog The Moon track on GPL is a great venue, a bit small for F1 cars though. :D

        1. It’s that low gravity Turkey turn 8 that’s the killer…

    12. How very unexpected, a stupid rumour Bild came up with turned out to be total shambles? Wouldn’t have thought so, ever!

      1. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
        7th March 2015, 13:55

        It didn’t even make sense. What would the either teams be afraid of, the McLaren firing bolts of electricity at them on the track? It being taken over by aliens and crashing into their cars?

    13. I was a total idiot at 17, and at 18,19,20,21,22,23,24, well, you get my drift. I think he’s (Verstappen) doing just fine but will probably get “schooled” by the older hands. The big question is, who will sit with him at dinner time?

    14. Wh ythe hell would Renault want to return in this era when they have no chance of catching Mercedes because of the engine rules?? maybe they know something (change of these stupid engine rules for 2017?)

    15. is the FIA report on Alonso’s crash giong to be done before Australia? i have fallen for the theories, but i myself wonder how he got concussed, in a not very heavy crash by the standards of f1 in the last 20 years, and apperently it is from his head hitting left and right on the cockpit, which doesnt make sense to me, i thought the cars did not allow that to happen. and the hans device….

    16. My $0.01 on why Manor hasn’t announced their second driver: I think they signed Giedo with his sponsors, they can’t announce they signed him because that would undermine the legal case against Sauber. Which his contract properly say that he can’t sign a contract with another F1 team.

      Also logically Giedo would be a good step for Manor; they get a driver that has experience in F1 and has knowledge about their closest opponents.

      But I have been so wrong in the past before….

      1. He would be a good option for Manor, although he doesn’t fit Lowden’s description of “young, fast rookie”.

        1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
          7th March 2015, 23:55

          What description would Stevens fit? He is a rookie, and he is young. But fast? His pre-f1 career is not bad, but certainly less impressive than many others’.
          Does anybody know about Stevens & sponsorship? Is he a (mild) pay driver?

    17. I think Sauber will have a lot of problems…

    18. McLaren have played down so many details of the Alonso crash, that I don’t think we can believe anything that they will ever say in the future…….a little truth goes a long way

    19. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      9th March 2015, 13:30

      Belated thanks for the COTD @keithcollantine

    Comments are closed.