Australian F1 Grand Prix - Qualifying

Maldonado and Williams find ‘solution’ to FW35 problems

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Pastor Maldonado endured a disastrous weekend last time out in Australia, qualifying in 17th place before retiring from the race without bothering the points. Both he and teammate Valtteri Bottas cited the FW35 as being “problematic”, reasoning their poor showing, but Maldonado believes that Williams have found the solution.

“We think we see the problems and we have the solution. But we need to test it and we have different things to test on both cars. Then we will see if it is right or not.

“You never know if what you do will be the right thing for the car, but I’m pretty confident the team has done the right thing in the last three days.”

Maldonado, who won last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, compared the new car to the FW33 he drove during his debut season in 2011. Williams went on to have their worst year ever, scoring just five points between their two cars. Although the pace of Valtteri Bottas improved towards the end of the race in Australia, Maldonado did not save his words over Williams’ performance.

“What happened [in Australia] was the worst that can happen. Now for sure, with the analysis we’ve done, it’s clear where the problems are. Theoretically we have the solution but now we must do the tests very well and we have a good plan for the test. Hopefully it will be good.”

Maldonado will be hoping to finish for the first time in Malaysia, having retired in both the 2011 and 2012 races.

NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

Follow @JerryBonkowski