Pirelli tipped for new tire deal

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Pirelli have signed a new deal with the FIA to remain as F1’s official tire supplier for the next five years, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The Italian tire manufacturer rejoined F1 in 2011 and its original three-year deal was set to expire this year.

Pirelli has already signed a contract with Bernie Ecclestone and has believed to have made arrangements with several teams. However it was lacking a commitment from the sport’s governing body.

FIA president Jean Todt was rumored to be considering a bid from Michelin to replace Pirelli. Todt, who is now facing a challenge to his presidency from rival David Ward, told media on Saturday that “everyone wants Pirelli”.

Pirelli has endured a turbulent time since returning to F1 as it has borne the burden the sports’ desire to create more unpredictable racing by providing challenging tire compounds.

However the fragile nature of this year’s tires provoked complaints from some teams. At Silverstone several drivers suffered high-speed tire failures, leading Pirelli to redesign this year’s constructions and supply more conservative rubber.

With a major change in the technical rules arriving next year, teams are understood to prefer sticking with a known quantity in terms of tire supplier. Michelin also had problems during their last tenure in F1, with all the users of they tires having to withdraw from the 2005 United States Grand Prix on safety grounds, leaving just six runners on Bridgestone tires to participate.

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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