Vergne: Raikkonen and Alonso could be “a potential time bomb”

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Ferrari’s new driving tandem of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso are two former World Champions that have been long used to being the top dogs on their team. In the mind of Jean-Eric Vergne, that could lead to trouble for the Scuderia.

The Toro Rosso racer, who is preparing for a battle against Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat next season, told Italian publication Corrierre dello Sport that while he expects Ferrari to be in the thick of the title race in 2014, he’s interested to see if Raikkonen and Alonso can really work together.

“I am convinced Fernando will be one of the championship candidates, but I’m very interested to see how it will work with Kimi as a team mate at Ferrari,” he told CdS. “Both Kimi and Fernando are very fast but the pair together could be a potential time bomb.”

Alonso recently noted to a Brazilian publication the “rumors” about Raikkonen being difficult to work with, although he also emphasized the importance of having a stronger car than he’s gotten in recent years – saying that should Ferrari deliver a championship-caliber ride, “the atmosphere in the team will be great.”

Vergne may be right in his belief that there may be some difficulty along the way. However, one wonders if his comments have another purpose: Namely, stirring the pot.

After all, those comments are aimed at one of the key rivals of Toro Rosso’s senior team, reigning champs Red Bull Racing – whom Vergne believes will continue their dominance of F1 even with the new technical regulations that are set to debut in the coming year.

“I don’t really expect to see any major changes in Formula 1, even though there will be a number of massive changes in F1’s rules,” he also said to CdS. “I expect to see Red Bull in front of Ferrari again next season to be honest.”

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.