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Yes, it’s only a little over a month until the first round of new, improved, 24-round, star-studded, sustainable, world’s most prestigious motor racing competition, the 2024 F1.

All the action will be in the desert Kingdom of Bahrain, then it’s the desert Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and then, starting March 21, the circus moves to the King and Queendom of Melbourne, the weather desert of Australia.

Good news wealthy readers. While all the $6500 tickets at the Red Bull Energy Station overlooking the Albert Park desert have gone, there are a few $5000 tickets left at the 330 Club, where DJs will be performing throughout the day and you can lounge in lounge-style furniture with a ­vibrant, social ambience and graze the menu and drinks. No whingeing now.

Over at the Monaco F1, tickets for the prestigious Platinum Terraces are only $4000 more (but no DJs or lounge-style furniture), while Mick and I will be stepping aboard the stylish F1® Experiences exclusive trackside superyacht, surrounding ourselves with luxury fittings and comforts in a multitude of living areas as well as in our separate private cabins. Our four-night stay includes a full crew, cooked-to-order breakfast, and nightly dinners prepared by the on-board chef with a selection of spirits, sparkling Coopers, wine and soft drinks for only $44,000 each.

In case you’re wondering where the readys came from, last Wednesday night the old bloke won the badge draw at the Kensi. The choices he had were: 1) say yes to Travis Kelce’s (the plus one of chanteuse Taylor Swift and one of the greatest NFL tight ends of all time – Travis, not Taylor) request that we join him, teammate Pat Mahomes, actor Ryan Reynolds, boxer Tony Joshua, golfer Rory McIlroy and a couple of soccer players in buying a $250m stake in the Alpine F1 Team; or spend $88,000 for four days of racing, drinking, cooked-to-order breakfasts and no DJs on Monaco harbour.

What tipped our decision was that, to put it frankly, Team Alpine (aka Team Renault) is not in tip-top shape. Last year it came sixth out of the 10 teams, the CEO called it quits, the team boss was sacked halfway through the season, and sporting director Alan Permane, who had been with Alpine for 34 years, went with him. And the French and English Alpine factories blue all the time.

Of course, we could have just traded in our 1990 BMW 3 series rally car for the 2017 Bugatti Chiron La Mer Argentée at RM’s Paris sale at the end of the month at The Salles Du Carrousel Du Louvre. Just 4700km on the clock, this is one of the first three Chirons delivered to VIP clients and one of only three examples with a horseshoe grille and factory-wrapped polished alloy finish. Only $5m plus our Beemer.

Before we bid a fond farewell to F1 for the week, let’s move to Singers where the Straits Times tells us former transport minister Subramaniam Iswaran was handed 27 charges in court. Court documents show that most of the offences Iswaran faces involve keen motorsport enthusiast and former schoolboy long jumper Ong Beng Seng, who brought F1 to Singapore in 2008. The ST says that, in September 2022, Iswaran had allegedly corruptly obtained from Ong gratification with a total value of about $164,000 as inducement for advancing his business interests in matters relating to a contract between Singapore GP and the Singapore Tourism Board. The alleged gratification included 10 Green Room tickets, eight Twenty3 hospitality package tickets and 32 general admission tickets to the 2022 Singapore Formula 1. And Harry Potter tickets were also allegedly involved in the gratification.

Moving right along, good news from reader 3.5, Rick Cahill. You remember last week we reported on Reader 11 Richard Temme’s problems with his Ssang­Yong Musso not starting.

Rick’s 2018 Ford Escape had a warning light come on. Tony Hambly at Northern Rivers Ford told Rick to bring the car in and before you could say Henry Ford hated cigarette smokers, Ford agreed to replace the engine and cover all costs, Tony gave him a loan car and Ford gave the Cahill family a hire car for free.

Poor old Richard Temme has yet to hear from SsangYong and we are yet to hear from the Henry Ford of SsangYong, Yong Won Jeong. Not from lack of trying. Clearly the private equity mob that controls SsangYong has been up to its old cost-cutting tricks. No one at the head office has email. So, we tried Vanessa Cox, director of communications in London. Vanessa’s email must have gone in the cost cutting. Anyway, our advice is not to go near the cars while we try to go near the often-bankrupt company. Next week our Gyeong­gi-do agent is heading around to the head office to see if anyone is available to talk.

We asked Consumer Reports, the US independent non-profit member organisation that, like your team here, works side-by-side with consumers for truth, transparency and fairness in the marketplace, to answer some common readers’ questions. Like should I run the engine for a while when I start it? Chief mechanic Johnny Ibbotson says that “giving the engine a chance to run for a minute before driving on a cold day is smart, but that there isn’t a need to let it run longer beyond warming the cabin and defogging the windshield. And there’s a real downside: wasting fuel and generating emissions.”

“Modern cars have improved in technology to the point where your engine is fully lubricated within 20-30 seconds,” Ibbotson says. “By the time you get in, start the car, put on your seat belt, and get comfortable, the engine might not be fully warm, but it’s completely lubricated, and you’re OK to drive.”

How do I make my car last 300,000km?

Start with a reliable car, stay on top of regular maintenance, use good oil, good oil filters, take care of even small repairs before they can become bigger, more expensive issues. Neglecting small repairs and maintenance issues as they crop up is a bad habit that can shorten your car’s life. Keep your car clean to protect against corrosion. As Johnny says: “It’s not rocket science. If you take care of your car, it will take care of you.” Unless it’s a SsangYong.



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