Lotus laugh off Red Bull tire complaints

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Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has questioned Red Bull’s recent complaints over the 2013 Pirelli tires in light of the defending champion’s recent results.

“How can they complain when they’ve just had a one-two?” asked Boullier. “That would not be very understandable.”

Red Bull have raised questions about the new compounds in 2013, with Pirelli designing a more aggressive tire in order to force teams into making more pit stops. This has seen many driver struggle to make their tires last whilst running at optimum pace, but Boullier sees no reason for Pirelli to change their design.

“Pirelli has no reason to change their tire spec. It is the 2013 tire spec and that is it. I don’t think there is any interest or wish from Pirelli to change anything. There is no reason why they have to change.

“Red Bull won and they are going to win more. There are worse cars in the top positions with these tires.”

Lotus have been one of the few teams to truly master the new compounds, with Kimi Raikkonen managing his tires perfectly in Australia en route to winning the first race of the season, but many teams have found the 2013 compounds more problematic. However, the tires are yet to be used at a completely dry race weekend, and until they are, the debate is set to continue.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.