Marussia team principal thankful for rest day

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Marussia team principal John Booth is pleased with the start that his drivers have made to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, but he has admitted that the rest day on Friday does give the team extra time to review the data collected and prepare for the sessions on Saturday and Sunday.

Unlike any other race, Monaco traditionally holds the first two free practice sessions on Thursday, allowing the teams to take Friday off whilst the support series run on the track. For the fans, it may cause some confusion, but Booth revealed that this gives the teams more time to understand the data collected in practice.

“Both drivers have had a clean start to their Monaco debut in an F1 car,” Booth said in a team statement. “The programme we set out was based around giving them plenty of laps for circuit familiarisation, along with some more detailed tyre evaluations in FP2.

“We’re reasonably happy with the performance and pace of the car but there is definitely work to do to improve their race pace on the tires.”

Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton finished towards the back of the grid in yesterday’s sessions, failing to beat closest-rivals Caterham in FP1. Regardless, Booth is pleased with the start that the team has made to the Monaco GP weekend, with Bianchi finishing ahead of both Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde in the second session.

“Fortunately we have the added advantage of an extra day to go through the information we have gathered today and at least we can be happy with the initial pace of the car.”

Marussia will be hoping to take advantage of the high rate of attrition that usually occurs during the Monaco Grand Prix and build upon their season-best result of 13th at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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