AlphaTauri defend Tsunoda and Schmitz over ‘insulting accusations of foul play’

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In the round-up: AlphaTauri has defended its driver Yuki Tsunoda and Red Bull strategist Hannah Schmitz after conspiracies theories circulated on social media over a Virtual Safety Car period which played a role in deciding the outcome of the race.

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In brief

Tsunoda conspiracies “insulting” – AlphaTauri

Tsunoda’s retirement from Sunday’s race, which occured when he stopped on-track for the second time in two laps, prompted wild conspiracy theories on social media as it triggered a VSC which played into Max Verstappen’s hands. AlphaTauri is Red Bull’s junior team and Tsunoda has previously voiced his support for Verstappen.

The conspiracy theories were accompanied by abusive language directed at Red Bull’s head of strategy Hannah Schmitz. AlphaTauri defended the pair and categorically dismissed the insinuations over Tsunoda’s retirement.

“It is incredibly disheartening to read some of the language and comments directed at our team and towards Red Bull Racing’s head of strategy, Hannah Schmitz,” they said in a statement. “Such hateful behaviour cannot be tolerated, and to entertain accusations of foul play is unacceptable, untrue and completely disrespectful towards both Hannah and us.

“We have always competed independently, fairly and with the highest levels of respect and sportsmanship. Yuki had a failure that the team didn’t immediately detect which caused him to stop on track. To suggest anything different is insulting and categorically incorrect.”

Stroll laments more misfortune

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022
Fortune did not smile on Stroll at Zandvoort
Lance Stroll had a double dose of misfortune at Zandvoort. After being unable to participate in Q3 due to a power unit problem, his race was compromised by the timing of the Safety Car.

“I think it was unfortunate, really,” said the Aston Martin driver. “I think our pace was good and our strategy, we were looking like we were going to finish P7, something like that.

“But then we were just unlucky with the timing of the safety car so we didn’t get to pit under the Safety Cars. The ones I was racing: the two Alpines and Norris, they all pitted under the Safety Car, so that just kind of put us back a little bit.”

“I felt really good in the car,” he added after finishing 10th. “It’s just a shame we walked away with only one point.”

Extreme E reveals Hamilton-led diversity drive

Extreme E has launched a new initiative under which its teams will be permitted to add a sixth member to their on-site engineering divisions, which are ordinarily restricted to a maximum of five, providing they have “less than one year’s professional motorsport experience”.

The Racing for All scheme, previously revealed by RaceFans, has come about through its work with Lewis Hamilton’s Hamilton Commission and is aimed at attracting engineers from under-represented backgrounds, including women and ethnic minorities.

“When I first discussed the idea of creating a programme with Alejandro [Agag, Extreme E CEO] and the Extreme E team, we all agreed that it had to be something which led to real change, and I believe Racing for All does just that,” said Hamilton. “I’m so excited to see this program adopted across the paddock, and I can’t wait to see what the first group of Racing for All candidates goes on to achieve.”

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Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiFYz5eA9FV/

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Comment of the day

@Jelle-van-der-meer spotted an interesting but overlooked detail in the data:

Seems Russell used the last lap to try and get fastest lap but came up just short only 0.019 behind Verstappen’s time set 10 laps earlier.
@Jelle-van-der-meer

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Baldry 888 and Charlie!

On this day in motorsport

  • 35 years ago today a mistake by Ayrton Senna with eight laps to go let Nelson Piquet in to win the Italian Grand Prix

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  • 67 comments on “AlphaTauri defend Tsunoda and Schmitz over ‘insulting accusations of foul play’”

    1. If Tsunoda’s issues were a Crashgate 2.0, it has to be one of the most poorly executed schemes in modern history. They could have much more easily brought out a safety car if AT didn’t say his tyres were ok and then call him back into the pit after he started undoing his belts. Even if they didn’t like where Tsunoda stopped on track, why bring him back into the pits? Just tell him to continue on and then tell him to pull over somewhere after pit entry.

      Also bringing in Schmitz is totally uncalled for. It’s no wonder she has maintained a lower profile than others if one of the first times she’s prominently displayed during the race, her integrity is impugned with totally baseless accusations. While I haven’t seen those comments, I’m sure based on how the internet works there is some sexism involved which is just totally shameful.

    2. “We have always competed independently, fairly and with the highest levels of respect and sportsmanship. Yuki had a failure that the team didn’t immediately detect which caused him to stop on track. To suggest anything different is insulting and categorically incorrect.”

      Worth repeating.

      It was a bizarre set of circumstances sure, but the number of fans and some of the media adding 1+1 and getting 12 was ridiculous. Unfortunately it’s not surprising though.

      1. Well written! a large portion of “fans” should just watch and not comment as they aren’t knowledgeable on the subject.

        Yuki didn’t reconize the problem and thought of a lose tyre so they said continue but Yuki already unfasten his belt and had to pit (still the pitcrew couldn’t detect the problem) after rejoining Yuki gave full power then they saw the problem and ask him to stop. (maybe it was smarter to drive slowly to the pit as the moment wasn’t good for Max…but i don’t know the risk of continue with a broken differential and what for damage that can do)

      2. Aside from the first claim, that is pretty much the obvious explanation. Tsunoda had an issue, misinterpreted it, was about to step out, the team checked the issue, convinced him to continue, and then after the stop they had the issue still. Losing a lap is not an issue in F1 where slow cars are brought back into the lead lap during a SC period. However, this team is obviously not independent. One only has to look at who is currently lobbying for their next driver to be allowed in: Christian Horner of RBR.

        It would also be nice if the team and driver who have repeatedly insinuated that RBR is cheating (engine, wings, floor, pitstops) to stop doing so. They’re contributing to this small but vocal group of conspiracy theorists.

      3. @aussierod @macleod “We have always competed independently, fairly and with the highest levels of respect and sportsmanship”

        This is far from the truth, though.

        – In the past, Alpha Tauri/Toro Rosso drivers have been told – in no uncertain terms – not to hold up Red Bull drivers (e.g. Gasly during the Qatari GP last year)

        – During the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP Verstappen was told to give the position he’d been deemed to have taken illegaly back in a way that would let him take it back immediately, making a mockery of the rules

        – The next GP at Abu Dhabi involved more skullduggery (without which they wouldn’t have won the title), with Perez not only racing Hamilton hard – which was fair and should be applauded – but being explicitly told to hold Hamilton up in the final sector by taking his foot off the pedal – which was utterly cynical. This fell under Schmitz’ responsibility

        – During the same race Red Bull team personal urged the race director to break the rules, which he did

        Add to that Tsunoda’s driving in Turkey that year, holding up Hamilton at the expense of his team, who should have beaten Alpine in the championship.

        “I want Max to win, it’s the last year of Honda [with] Red Bull as well. I tried to hold Lewis as much as possible, I don’t know how many laps. I was trying to save more but I couldn’t.”

        There’s no evidence to say anything untoward happened at Zandvoort ’22, and no one deserves any abuse for any reason.

        Red Bull and Tsunoda have shown to care little for sporting integrity. They have no right to feel insulted (in this regard), as some of the responsibility for people questioning their actions like this falls on them.

        1. Similar shenanigans used to happen between Sauber and Ferrari in the early 2000s.

          The main issue here is that Red Bull simply shouldn’t be allowed to own two out of ten F1 teams. Especially when the FIA and Liberty are brushing off people who do want to participate as independent teams.

          It’s bad enough that the engine manufacturers have such sway over their clients, but Red Bull is all but openly running Alpha Tauri, with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner often speaking on behalf of said “independent” team.

        2. – During the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP Verstappen was told to give the position he’d been deemed to have taken illegaly back in a way that would let him take it back immediately, making a mockery of the rules

          This is a problem with the rules, not with the team

          – The next GP at Abu Dhabi involved more skullduggery (without which they wouldn’t have won the title), with Perez not only racing Hamilton hard – which was fair and should be applauded – but being explicitly told to hold Hamilton up in the final sector by taking his foot off the pedal – which was utterly cynical. This fell under Schmitz’ responsibility

          Where I come from this is called “racing”

          – During the same race Red Bull team personal urged the race director to break the rules, which he did

          Playing the ref is part of the game and happens in every sport. Don’t forget Toto was on the phone telling Masi not to throw a Safety Car

          Add to that Tsunoda’s driving in Turkey that year, holding up Hamilton at the expense of his team, who should have beaten Alpine in the championship.

          See above, this is “racing” and was actually one of the best bits of that race.

          1. Inter-team strategies is racing? So using a b-team to block your opponents is now ok? F1 becomes like the touring car championships. Just waiting for the team radios like “crash him out”.

        3. I was going to address each point individually, but it seems pointless.
          Most of these are just normal motorsport actions that can and do happen in every series.
          Manufactures have long issued the same conditions to their customer teams regarding who to hold up and who to allow through quickly. It’s no different with Red Bull/Alpha Tauri – although to be completely honest, I’d say they actually do less of it than other inter-team link-ups do.
          The Abu Dhabi ‘decision to break the rules’ was the FIA’s decision (Masi was an FIA employee) and cannot in any way be ‘blamed’ on Red Bull. Toto was far more demanding in trying to get what he wanted, even requesting the SC not be used.

          Sporting integrity in modern F1 is a myth. Everyone is playing not by the rules, but actually playing the rules. Each and every one of them try anything and everything that gives them an advantage.

          It seems like you watched F1 during the 50’s and 60’s, then stopped and came back to it just last year.
          Everything has changed. The whole world has changed.
          When people are receiving written and verbal attacks for something as meaningless as this, whether intentional or not (it wasn’t), they absolutely have the right to feel insulted and offended.

    3. The FIA stewards investigated the incident after the race and found Tsunoda had a problem with the differential on his AT03, which ultimately forced him to retire.

      1. This can be manipulated by the garage. It was a joke in the post race interviews when he gave different explanations of the problem to competing sorts outlets. Suggest you listen

    4. Wait, Hannah Schmitz took flak over this? Just, wow.

      1. Absolute insanity. Entertaining conspiracies like this can be a little fun to contemplate but to actually believe it and abuse people over it is seriously bizarre. Just relax.

        1. Welcome to MAGA America.

        2. Agreed. I can’t believe people have nothing better to do and this is how they enjoy their free time. It truly shocks me what some idiots think is acceptable behaviour when behind an avatar.

          1. It’s populism like this all over, especially anonymous.

      2. Nowhere did I see any comments towards Hannah Schmitz about this. It is an attempt from Red Bull to frame this into a women-hate perspective.

        1. @spafrancorchamps first, that you bring this conspiracy here, and than write ‘didn’t see any comments towards Hannah’ is utterly st..pid. Since when do you monitor the entire social media and mailbox of RB or Hannah. And than, secondly, twist this story in a false narrative and blaming the team you exactly accused with your conspiracy theory. It’s scary to see how quickly people adopt the framing, send by their beloved team, and at the same accuse others of framing.

          1. First. My team is McLaren. Not sure what they are trying to frame according to you? I am completely neutral in the entire Mercedes-RBR rivalry. I just want to see hard and fair racing between them and I don’t care who wins. Although I always have a sweet spot for the underdog and with many relatives and friends being Max fans, I also like it for them when Max does well. My uncle has a mental disability and was all over the moon last Sunday with Max his win, that makes me happy too.

            Second. I said the Yuki situation stinks. I didn’t point any fingers to Hannah Schmitz in a single comment. I highly doubt she has any communication link to AT during the race, neither do I think she’d like to win like this. A car having 1. loose wheels, 2. loose seatbelts and 3. loose diff over the course of 1 lap is too convenient to my taste. Don’t be so naive believing these things can’t occur. People go long lengths for success. I raised the same concerns after Singapore 2008. I was set away as conspiracy theorist by people like you back then too. Everything else is history. There is a possibility someone at AT saw their race was ruined but letting Yuki go out with such a deficit and broken car would benefit some. Don’t need no conspiracy for that. One person is enough. Or it could all have been just a big screw up. I don’t claim I know it all, I just keep all possibilities open. A question opens the mind, a statement closes the mind.

            Then, to come back to my initial point. No, I did not see anyone attack Schmitz and I do feel RBR is trying to frame the raised concerns into hate towards women, which is uncalled for. It has one purpose: making this a taboo topic, because if you ask questions about Yuki’s retirement, you now hate women.

            In a broader light, I think Red Bull shouldn’t be allowed to own another team to begin with. You should want to avoid even the slightest possibility of it appearing you are fixing a race. Having two teams does not contribute well to that purpose. Questions will always be raised..

            1. Have you seached for it? I seems not, otherwise you could have found this https://www.newsweek.com/lewis-hamilton-formula-1-f1-hannah-schmitz-1739955?amp=1

              But it seems some fans (not you) like to apply double standards. The RB camp may be attacked for anything, evidence is never needed. But one critical not on sir LH ….

            2. ….. and it is framing. Don’t forget which team is alway’s indirect hinting
              at their competitors in a negative way.
              Oh, and no, I’m not the orange glassed fan, I just don’t like false narratives. No matter from which camp

            3. @itsme that’s the entire point here. Search and you will find. You can always find a person that has to take it to the extremes and attack individuals. And yes, you (and RBR) found some that did. But that Hannah Schmitz was not where 99,99% of criticasters were on about. But RBR frames it to be, trying to kill off all raised questions.

              And teams attacking each other over the legality of the competitor’s car is something that always happened. McLaren did it to Red Bull about the flexwings. Red Bull did it to Brawn about the diffuser. Mercedes did it to Ferrari about their engine. Last year Red Bull did it to Mercedes with their engines. This year Mercedes again does it to Red Bull with their floor. I wish it to be different too. But that’s just how it is, has always been and always will be.

        2. You’ve not seen any comments towards Hannah? Gosh, why didn’t you tell us all and the entire F1 community this earlier?

          I’ve read lots of comments by you over the last few days, and as a “neutral” in the Merc vs RBR shenanigans, I have come to the conclusion that your comments are that of a 14 year old troll.

          1. that comment was towards @spafrancorchamps by the way

            1. Great comment. Thank you for bringing some maturity into the conversation

          2. Could you please refer to any/all the bad comments towards her?

            Its easy to claim being the victim, in the desire to distract from the strange happenings of the b-team provoking a VSC by sending out a clearly damaged car, with no chance of getting any point.

            1. @romtrain it’s rather funny that type’s like you and @spafrancorchamps (the more polarized people here) ask for facts and evidence, meanwhile accusing the FIA and your nightmare Max for everything bad and never come with evidence. Using words as ‘corrupt FIA’ (of course only when a decision doesn’t fit in your world)…. Please send me the link where you accused RB of using an illegal floor…. Etc

              Oh by the way, the accusations towards hannah came from your own fanclub https://www.newsweek.com/lewis-hamilton-formula-1-f1-hannah-schmitz-1739955?amp=1 and of course some others from the isle

            2. you talking about polarization, while constantly spamming your HAM hate is kind of funny.

              BTW: different platform you are referring to. looks like nobody here stated anything, and you made things up.

            3. Who is making things up?

    5. I like the idea of the 6th person in Extreme E, a great way to introduce young talent.
      I think a similar system in F1, where teams could run a third car but the driver must have less then 12 months experience.

    6. Weird decision to send him back out though considering how much time he had lost.

        1. Not really. With todays limits on testing time etc it makes sense to get the car out on track just to collect for base telemetry data.

          1. They wouldn’t have gathered any real new data though, would they? and most of the time they are busy trying to save wear on race parts.
            Also very strange and highly dangerous for Yuki to drive with loosened seat belts and for the team to allow that. (if they knew?) With his head teatherd by HANS but his body loose, that is a broken neck waiting to happen.

            1. I do not think at all that this was orchestrated by RBR but it was absolutely a various strange sequence of events that seems irregular and irrational.

      1. Not really. For some reason F1 gives lapped drivers a bonus lap during a SC period, instead of just sorting the cars in running order. Or just leave the cars as is, like they used to.

    7. It can be amusing to watch a corner of the Internet melt into baseless conspiracy theories, but personal abuse is unacceptable.

      I would like to see a clear statement from Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton condemning this behaviour. They stayed silent when Masi and Latifi were getting death threats, even as it was being done in their name.

      Red Bull have been quick to condemn in the past when their fans have overstepped the mark. Mercedes cannot continue to ignore the toxic impact of some of their fans on online communities.

      1. Why would you automatically assume this is due to Mercedes fans though. I think there was wild speculation and ridiculous theories across the board. Maybe the team should say something but then why not Ferrari fans or anyone else.

        I’m sure Merc must have said something about reactions to Abu Dhabi. Lewis is usually pretty quick to condemn this sort of thing.

        1. @phil-f1-21 I don’t blame you for not following the minutiae of this saga on Twitter but it is fairly evident that the abuse is coming from Hamilton fans. The “Team LH” account (Hamilton’s unofficial fan club) even put out a statement defending the abuse yesterday before rowing back on it later.

          As for Abu Dhabi, it’s fairly well-documented that Hamilton made no public comments about anything at all between his pre-podium interview and an Instagram post some time in February. Latifi later revealed that Hamilton had reached out to him privately, but neither he nor Mercedes said anything in public about the abuse.

          1. Mmm. Poor then by a fan club. I am not a big Merc fan but I just thought the speculation/story was ridiculous. Too contrived for anyone to even consider and then why bother. Red Bull and Max have the whole season tied up anyway.

        2. Indeed, but for the same reason why do we here accuse fans of the orange for racism, biase (orange glasses, like a LH fan calls them in every comment), hooliganism etc?

        3. Why would you automatically assume this is due to Mercedes fans though.

          Toto Wolff (Mercedes) insinuated something suspicious had happened by stating that “If we were to fight for a championship, that would be something I would closely look at.”

          Wolff and Mercedes have along history of ‘not saying’ what they’re saying. They’re quite crafty about this, and a portion of their fanbase understands what’s being said and then acts that out in the manner described in the article.

      2. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
        6th September 2022, 13:13

        I do hope Lewis and Mercedes leave this alone and have nothing to say about this stinking cheating. Anyone denying what AT did is in denial and condones cheating. Of course ppl put on their blinkers and didn’t see AT start from pitlane in Spa to not hold up Max.

    8. Well this happens when Toto Wolff start acting like a nutcase and see theories in everything that doesn’t go his way. His words were like fire for the people looking for something. But hey he will most likely say, that his words were misunderstood. Poor Manager at a great team.

    9. What did Hannah Schmitz do to upset the internet?

      Does she know more about Area 51? Did she put the chip in the vaccin? Is she one of the Sandy Hook actors? Or did she strategise where to put the explosives in the WTC?

      On one hand I don’t want to see these gutter stories on this site, but at the same time it’s important to know what’s happening in the fringes of our sport (follower community).

      1. It is not only happening in F1 one, but in society in general. The internet is the perfect place for conspiracy theories being adopted by large groups of people.

    10. A spot-on statement that couldn’t be more accurate, although they should’ve been able to detect the issue by his re-stop for belt-tightening & tyre change from hard to soft.
      Apart from only detecting the issue while leaving the pit lane rather than by re-pitting, I’ve changed my tone on this matter from a race-fixing attempt to mere situation mishandling.

      COTD: He indeed tried He’ll get the FLAP honor & bonus point sooner or later.

      1. I’ve changed my tone on this matter from a race-fixing attempt to mere situation mishandling.

        Well done you.
        It’s sad that some people’s initial reaction is to think deception and corruption. Says a lot about those individuals, and indeed, about the ‘sport’ they follow.

    11. For the next round-up @keith-collantine : more reports of women being harassed at the Dutch Grand Prix after a female F1 fanclub set up an emergency number. More than 20 women came forward with complaints that vary between catcalling and being touched inappropriately. The organisation says they received 1 complaint and is aware of 4 complaints of other nature.

      I’m sure ‘more than 20’ mentioned in the article doesn’t show the full picture, there’s probably also women who shrug off this behaviour from (drunk?) men. At the same time ‘more than 20’ isn’t a huge number if you consider 105.000 people passed the gates each day at Zandvoort. Bottom line is that the event should be for everyone to visit.
      And while I’m not looking forward to the responses of “fans” who seem to find pleasure in striking down all Dutch fans at once (after all there were many Dutch fans in Hungary and Belgium too and I haven’t heard reports from those races), I believe we should put some question marks over dressing up a sports event as a festival the way that happens in Zandvoort and Austria.

    12. Of course there is no rigging results in Formula 1. Piquet crashing in Singapore or Mclaren/Williams deal at Jerez didn’t happen! YOU are the bad guy for believing in such ridiculous conspiracy theories! Grow up and get real!

      1. Seems Piquet sold his seat for that crash but that was clear enough as only Alonso was the only one who profitted from this.

        Here it was even a bad moment for Max as they wanted to pit him for softs MUCH much later.

        1. And why would they risk it? His championship lead is so large, having the Mercs finish ahead would make no difference. His main title ‘rivals’ are behind him, so his lead would not be eroded significantly. It would make no sense to take such a risk.

          1. Why do people do the things they do? No one knows. All we know was that Max wanted to win his home race and Red Bull knew the recipe from last year.

            They need a miracle and they got another one. After all, alpha tauri is 8th in the championship behind Haas.

            1. They need a miracle and they got another one.

              That’s funny.
              There was only one team/driver combination that didn’t need any miracles or assistance of any kind to win that race.

            2. You do know the VSC wasnot in favour of Max they planned a stop around Bottas SC so they could switch to Softs instead they were forced to Hards and that tyre wasn’t great for RB and was easy to remove when the SC of Bottas came.

    13. Conspiracy theories were not baseless. Im sure many accept once the FIA investigated and made their statements. But at the time it did look suspicious.

    14. No one says you can’t question the proceedings in the race, though these ‘discussions’ usually follow the same pattern. They start with a theory about the race being fixed (most of the times framed/phrased as ‘this is the truth and it makes total sense’, rather than a more open ‘I saw this and this happening and couldn’t it be that..?’), followed by counter arguments from another party and they usually end up with ‘if you don’t see this you’re crazy’, ‘take off your orange tinted glasses’ or the ‘YoU aRe NeVer AlLowED tO sAy AnYThiNG aBoUT A RigGed Race’ argument presented above.

    15. Only fools would spend time reading a F1 fan comment section.

      1. Guess we all fools hahaha!

      2. Being a Mclaren fan myself, I come here purely for some post race entertainment (seeing as though Mclaren aren’t giving me much to get excite about these days during a race). Reading the “banter” between Merc/LH fans and the RBR/MV fans is truly astonishing and highly amusing. So many times I find myself replying to a comment, only then to come to my senses and delete it all and just move on. Seeing the amount of time spent by people arguing pointless subjects with complete strangers who will very rarely see past their rose tinted spectacles amazes me.

        It is worrying though that these people I’m guessing are all of an age to bring little humans into the world…..god help those kids! Sign of the times.

    16. Unfortunately this is the world we live in now. A ref makes a bad call and it’s a conspiracy to have one team win over another. Some questionable actions happen in an f1 race and it’s a conspiracy to get Max a win. But we should also remember that where there is smoke there is usually fire and if there weren’t proven cases of match fixing or what happened in the last race of 2021 there wouldn’t be a fertile base for this stuff to grow.

    17. Quite right. It’s totally unacceptable to in any way criticise the behaviour of the *anointed holy one*, or his team, or any related team. Hostile accusations must of course always be thrown only at MB, regardless of evidence.
      Of course any event to the benefit of RB is automatically fair, good, and sporting, and even if unprecedented, normal, not worthy of mention. Any event not to RB benefit is bad, immoral, by definition.
      Happy to clear that up for you all.

      1. Quite right. It’s totally unacceptable to in any way criticise the behaviour of the *anointed holy one*, or his team, or any related team. Hostile accusations must of course always be thrown only at

        I hope you realise that, in the current discussion climate, up to this point your post (depending on which team you support and/or despise) could be about either 2021 championship protagonists, right?

        1. 1) This is 2022. It’s odd that I need to point that out.
          2) I personally do not believe in an “anointed holy one”. I seem to be in a small minority there.
          Point is, in the comment section of this and other sites, the discussion seems more about religion than about sport.
          Shame really.

          1. Maybe I’m missing your sarcasm. What I meant is that one part of the comment section seems to think ‘the anointed holy one’ is a guy from Stevenage and another part think that it’s a bloke from Hasselt.
            I don’t believe in anointed ones either and I do agree with you that it seems to be religion to some. While both camps hate each other, their religions and mode of operation are remarkably similar.

    18. This sucession of mistakes was so unbelievable that people have every right to feel doubts about it.

      And we have examples from the past as well. Why should anyone trust blindly on their word when we know it can be arranged and it was done before?

    Comments are closed.