Vettel calls Mercedes test “critical issue”

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Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel has criticized Mercedes’ tire test following the Spanish Grand Prix, believing that they will have gained some advantage from the additional running, making the case a “critical issue.”

Mercedes have been summoned before the FIA’s tribunal, with the case set to be assessed in the next six weeks. However, Vettel is still perturbed by the affair, feeling that there is a clear flouting of the rules.

“I see it as a critical issue,” Vettel told Suddeutsche Zeitung. “Each test kilometre is an advantage and Mercedes had the opportunity to test tires that we will probably race at Silverstone. I think this is an advantage over all the other teams.”

Furthermore, Vettel told Autosport how he felt that the test would have aided Mercedes’ development of the W04.

“We all know how important testing is in the winter. The quality of the testing is not the same because the conditions are different.

“The cars are very early in their development so if you have the chance somewhere in the middle of the season to have a test, or three days, then it’s a big help.”

Nico Rosberg won the Monaco Grand Prix for Mercedes with ease two weeks ago, yet many believe the track’s lack of tire wear meant that the true impact of the test was not revealed. However, with the Canadian Grand Prix usually being the toughest race for tire wear, the worth of the 1000km test will be on display this weekend.

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

Force’s daughter, Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, suffered a hard wreck at Pomona, but recovered in time to race this weekend in Phoenix.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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