F1 concerned about diminishing thrill factor

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F1 team bosses are wary next season could produce a series of unexciting races after an uneventful grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas.

While the track has been largely praised as one of the best new additions to the calendar in recent years, Sunday’s grand prix was a largely processional affair. While Sebastian Vettel dominated proceedings the drivers behind him spent much of the race preserving their tires in order to avoid making more than a single pit stop.

Next year’s change in engine regulations will make fuel saving a greater concern. And the sport’s tire supplier Pirelli intends to err on the side of producing more conservative rubber as they are unsure how much stress the new turbo power units will put on the rear tires.

“It is a point of concern or discussion in the next couple of weeks, because we cannot have a situation where in order to be very conservative we will have races where there is not any thrill,” Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali told Autosport.

Pirelli is anxious for more testing in order to ensure their 2014 tires are appropriate for the radically overhauled cars.

“I am sure with Pirelli we will find the right solution because it is not a problem of giving more favors to one team or to another – it is important for the sport and the show,” Domenicali added.

“We will have a different car that will produce different torque, above all on the rear, so I think this is a point that needs to be heavily discussed in the next few weeks.”

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.