Ecclestone: Dominant Red Bull won’t get tired, leave F1

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Four years into Red Bull’s reign of dominance in Formula One, and it’s still pretty amazing that an energy drink company, of all things, has come in and created a team capable of beating the likes of Ferrari and McLaren.

Their latest triumph was a thorough one as well, with both team and driver Sebastian Vettel claiming their fourth consecutive championships in the constructors’ and drivers’ categories respectively with three races to go in the 2013 season.

It’s a remarkable achievement to win one championship, but what Red Bull’s done is even more impressive. However, when you’ve continually shown yourselves to be at the top of your game, you can wind up pondering over new challenges to conquer.

So, would Red Bull one day take a look around F1, say ‘we’ve done all we can here’, and move out? For his part, F1 kingpin Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t think so.

In comments to Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport, the British billionaire cites the drive of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, the bounty that the team’s received thanks to its current run of glory, and the benefits of doing business in F1 as reasons why he’s not counting on an exodus anytime soon.

“Dietrich Mateschitz is so competitive, he loves racing, he likes when his car wins,” Ecclestone explained. “The successes of recent years also mean his team has earned much more than some of the others.

“Not only that, where else is he going to find as good a platform to advertise his brand?”

F1 is a nice platform indeed, but considering Red Bull’s ubiquitous stature in the landscapes of both sports and pop culture, it’s not the only one that the beverage giant has.

Still, you figure Ecclestone’s right to think Red Bull won’t leave F1 any time soon. The group enjoys worldwide exposure every weekend during the season, boasts one of the greatest drivers to ever race in F1 in Vettel, and has even managed to revive the Austrian Grand Prix for this coming season at its Red Bull Ring track.

Nothing lasts forever, of course. But right now, Red Bull’s presence in the sport appears ready to continue for a while.

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.