Webber pleased to see F1 return to Austria


Red Bull driver Mark Webber has expressed his delight over Formula One’s return to Austria next season, even if the Australian driver won’t get a chance to race at the circuit due to his retirement at the end of the current year.

It was confirmed last month that a deal had been reached that would see the sport return to Austria for the first time since 2003 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. As Formula One looks to reach new markets and exotic locations such as Abu Dhabi and Singapore, moving back to a traditional venue such as Austria surprised many, but Webber is pleased to see the move.

“I think it’s absolutely brilliant and I was really happy to see F1 is going back to a super-traditional venue,” Webber explained to Autosport, before going on to criticize the newer tracks on the calendar.

“There have been so many grands prix there in the past. We’ve lost a lot of that with the grands prix we have gone to in the last six or seven years, so it’s great to return to a venue with so much feel-good factor, and such a great location tucked into the mountains.”

The race is set to be held in July next season according to the race promoters, with much of the money behind the race supplied by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz. For the Austrian team, having a ‘home’ race will be a new-found luxury for the champion team in years to come.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force qualifies 15th with no motor explosion, says ‘I need to race smart’ Sunday

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There’s good news and bad news for John Force fans.

The good news is the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ did not suffer yet another motor explosion after enduring his third in three races during Friday’s qualifying session at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway.

In fact, Force intentionally feathered the gas pedal on his Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car to make sure it wasn’t again overtaxed, qualifying 15th with a run of 4.281 seconds at 222.88 mph.

Now for the bad news.

When Sunday’s final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET, Force will be matched against daughter and No. 2 qualifier, Courtney Force (3.914 seconds at 332.18 mph).

“It is a little bit of a bummer that I have to race him in the first round,” Courtney Force said of her father. “Tomorrow is a new day and we will have all our stuff ready and we will put on our game faces to go for that win.”

Courtney Force is seeking her second consecutive win, having also won two weeks ago at the second national event of the season in suburban Phoenix.

“I want to have a good side-by-side safe race tomorrow in round one,” Force said. “Our goal is to take my dad down and have a long day at the track winning rounds.

“We want to move the momentum over from Phoenix. I feel like my guys have a good handle on this Advance Auto Parts Camaro.”

But don’t count out dear old dad, an eight-time Funny Car winner at Gainesville.

“I am the kind of guy that, when it is qualifying day, I run it to the edge.,” John Force said. “I run it even if I know it will hurt itself.

“(With his three motor explosions this season) I am rethinking all that. What I am looking is the long haul. To go out here and say I have to win this race or I have to qualify low after as much stuff as we have put on the ground in Pomona and Phoenix and then to come here and do it again is bad. … We want to fix this problem and move on.

“Tomorrow I am going to have to play the odds game. I am going to run it to 700 or 800 feet and hope (Courtney) gets in trouble. I need to race smart.”

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