F1 flashback: Seven cars finish in San Marino

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The 1986 San Marino Grand Prix has gone down as one of the most bizarre in Formula One history, with just four drivers finishing the race as teams struggled with fuel consumption issues on this day in 1986.

Imola, which last welcomed Formula One in 2006, had always been notoriously tough on the fuel tanks, requiring drivers to manage their cars carefully for 60 laps of racing.

The race turned into a battle between Nelson Piquet and Alain Prost, who drove for Williams and McLaren respectively. Piquet looked to build up a lead at the start before managing his fuel consumption during the middle of the race, and then pushing towards the end of the grand prix to take the win. However, this backfired as he eventually finished P2 with plenty of fuel to spare, and he had only done so after Keke Rosberg ran out of fuel when defending second place.

At the front, Prost managed to perfect his strategy and fuel management to win the race by seven seconds. It would prove to be a crucial win come the end of the season, with the Frenchman finishing three points (the exact difference between P1 and P2) ahead of Piquet to win his second world championship.

Only seven cars actually managed to finish the race, with just the top two on the same lap. Despite not finishing, Rosberg and Riccardo Patrese finished in the points by virtue of completing more laps than three other finishers.

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.