Report: Volkswagen Group not interested in F1

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If there is to be a 12th Formula One team competing in 2015 or 2016, it won’t be coming from the Volkswagen Group.

Earlier this week, the FIA announced that it was accepting applications through Jan. 3, 2014 for a new team to join the grid. However, VW has told ESPN F1 that it has no interest in joining the series.

“Currently there are no plans or intentions for the Volkswagen brand or any other brand of the Volkswagen Group to join Formula One,” a VW spokesman said. The VW Group features a portfolio of brands that includes Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche.

Stories of VW possibly joining F1 have had a tendency to pop up on and off in recent years. In fact, back in 2012, a German newspaper reported that the carmaker was planning to break into the sport with Sauber in 2015 and was also planning on eventually making its own chassis.

But if we’re going to take the Group’s latest statement at face value, it looks like they have other priorities at this time.

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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