Williams taking positives out of double Q1 exit

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Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams is trying to take the positives out of the team’s Q1 exit today in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, believing that the tight field is to blame for the result.

Twelve months ago, Pastor Maldonado started the race from pole position, but he could only qualify 18th today, one place behind teammate Valtteri Bottas. Although Williams is not pleased with the result, she does not believe that a crisis is ensuing.

“This isn’t quite 2012 is it?” Williams said to Sky Sports. “It is really disappointing.

“We are still trying to get on top of the situation and a lot of work is going on back at the factory. It takes a long time to turn things around in Formula 1,” she explained.

The result will come as a great blow to the team, especially after spending much of the three week break working on upgrades for the FW35, but Williams still has faith that the car is capable of some good results.

“I don’t think it is an inherently bad race car, it is just that the field is so tight at the minute and we were just a tenth away from getting both drivers into Q2.”

Bottas did finish just 0.042 seconds behind Esteban Gutierrez, yet the result is still a disastrous one for the team. Unlike McLaren, who are suffering from correlation issues, Williams have been struggling with their aerodynamic set up.

“I am not sure it is necessarily a correlation issue. We just really need to look at the aerodynamics of the car and it is a work in progress.”

Undoubtedly, there will be an inquiry into the team’s performance in qualifying today, although they will take hope from Bottas’ spirited race runs so far this season.

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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