Lotus undecided over use of passive DRS device

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Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane has revealed that the decision has not yet been taken on whether or not to use the passive DRS device in Belgium.

The device, nicknamed DDRS (double DRS) works by altering the air flow when the car is moving in a straight line. By reducing drag, a greater top speed is achievable – something that could prove invaluable at Spa next weekend. However, Permane is still undecided over the use of the device.

“We haven’t made a final decision yet as to whether the device will be deployed, but we’ve been conducting a lot of simulation work with the concept to help clarify that decision and there’s a good chance we’ll see it make an appearance,” he explained.

Permane is also confident that the team can come to Spa with the same pace that allowed Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean to finish the first half of the season with a string of good results.

“We’ve got several updates coming up – both mechanical and aerodynamic – so we’re confident of making another step forward.”

The team is currently enjoying a strong season, and although Kimi Raikkonen is championship leader Sebastian Vettel’s closest challenger, the Finn is in need of victories in the second half of the season, having claimed just a single win so far this year in Australia.

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.