Alonso reminds Ferrari 2013 comes first

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Fernando Alonso does not want his Ferrari team being distracted from this year’s championship campaign by the need to prepare for next year’s new engine rules.

The scale of the changes set to hit F1 next year have been described as a “tsunami” by one technical director. Ferrari aren’t the only team who have a separate part of their team dedicated to working on the 2014 car and engine.

But Alonso, who begins his fourth season at Ferrari this year, is anxious that the team doesn’t get preoccupied with the 2014 car too soon.

“You cannot test anything on the 2013 car that will be useful for the 2014 season,” he pointed out. “You cannot use Fridays to test the turbo, so you will need to continue working on the 2013 season.”

Alonso said the only circumstances Ferrari might switch their focus to 2014 early is if they have a poor start to the season – something he does not want to think about:

“It will be difficult to come to the middle part of the season and give up,” he said. “That will only happen if you are 50 or 60 points behind the leader.”

“That is something we don’t wish to contemplate, and if we do come to that point then it will be better to concentrate on 2014.”

The decision when to halt work on the 2013 car and switch all efforts to 2014 is one all the teams will have to grapple with. But it’s especially crucial for Ferrari as one of F1’s two chassis-and-engine manufacturers.

Mercedes, the only other team in this position, clearly see 2014 as an opportunity to make gains and have already shown off a version of their new V6 engine.

Dodge to celebrate 50th anniversary of Hemi motor at NHRA U.S. Nationals

Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
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When this year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals plays out from August 29 through September 3 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, a lot of folks are going to be channeling one of the most famous lines in motorsports:

“Hey, that thing got a Hemi?”

Dodge and parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday – on National Hemi Day, no less – announced that it will celebrate the Hemi’s 50th anniversary of Super Stock cars with the 18th annual Dodge Hemi Challenge during the U.S. Nationals.

Cars that will take part in the Challenge will be 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda cars – “The most iconic of the Mopar package cars,” touted a Dodge press release – in a head-to-head battle.

The Dart and Barracuda were purpose built for use solely on a drag strip. The 23 entrants in the Challenge will drive their personally owned versions of the ’68 ‘Cuda and Dart.

The winner of the Challenge – which will be held August 30-31 – will take home a $15,000 purse, while cash rewards will be available for all 16 drivers that qualify for final eliminations.

“The Dodge brand is proud to serve as title sponsor of the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge, an event that spotlights the legacy and power of the 426 HEMI engine,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America.

Beahm added, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars that debuted back in 1968 and are still competing today, which makes our support of this edition of the HEMI Challenge extra special.”

One special incentive for contestants is the 42.6-pound NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy, created in the spirit of the 426 (cubic inch) HEMI engine.

Jimmy Daniels has won the Challenge the last two years and goes for a three-peat in this year’s race within a race. His father, Jim Daniels, won the race in 2010.

The Challenge’s all-time winningest driver is Charlie Westcott Jr. of Parma, Michigan, who captured the Challenge in six different years: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

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