Domenicali criticises “extreme” penalty as Ferrari miss second


Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali criticised Felipe Massa’s drive-through penalty during the Brazilian Grand Prix which potentially cost the team second place in the constructors’ championship.

Massa was penalised for cutting across the pit lane entry line during the race, which drivers had been warned not to do.

Domenicali called Massa’s penalty “a bit extreme and forced… because I don’t think Felipe’s move gave him any advantage”.

Massa was running in fourth place before the penalty but dropped to seventh at the chequered flag. “With the points he could have scored the outcome of the constructors’ championship could have been different,” rued Domenicali.

Mercedes beat Ferrari to second in the standings by six points, which is the same as the difference between fourth and seventh place in a race.

Massa said: “I was having a really great race up until the moment I was given a penalty for crossing the white line. I don’t think I deserved a drive-through and I believe it was very unfair.”

“I am very disappointed because today I could have finished fourth or third.” Massa added he believed Fernando Alonso would have let him finish on the podium had he been running fourth behind his team mate in the closing stages.

After the race Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said both his drivers had complained Massa was repeatedly crossing the white line before he was penalised.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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