All is calm at Ferrari insists test driver Marc Gene

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Ferrari test driver Marc Gene has insisted that the team is still calm and focused despite an indifferent start to the season in 2013.

The Italian team has claimed one win so far this year, but with Fernando Alonso losing ground after retiring from the Malaysian GP and the team enduring a nightmarish weekend in Bahrain, many believe that the Scuderia could already have lost its chance to beat championship leaders Red Bull this season. However, Gene insists that there is no crisis in Maranello.

“Despite what happened the other day, the atmosphere at Maranello is calm,” Gene told EFE.

“I think this year we will fight until the end for both championships.”

Gene echoed Christian Horner’s belief that the 2013 constructors’ title would be fought for by four teams, and the Spanish driver tipped Red Bull as being the current pace setters.

“The nice thing about this season is that there are many teams fighting for the top positions. Red Bull is the benchmark, and Lotus is the other team that is very strong, but we also do not forget about Mercedes.”

Following Ferrari’s miserable weekend in Bahrain, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko snubbed the team by highlighting Lotus as the current champion’s closest rivals. However, Gene was confident that the DRS failure Alonso suffered would be a one-off, and that Ferrari could quickly make up the gap to Red Bull.

“I think this is just psychological warfare. It was an unusual problem that has never happened before and won’t happen again.”

Gene last raced in Formula One in 2004, deputizing for the injured Ralf Schumacher at Williams for six races.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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