F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Qualifying

Lotus’ Boullier: We won’t be the only team missing Jerez

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A few days after his team made headlines for announcing its absence from the first Formula One preseason test of 2014, Lotus principal Eric Boullier has told the BBC that his group won’t be the only one missing at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain next month.

“You will see, we will not be the only team not being in Jerez. I know this for a fact already,” he said to the BBC’s chief F1 writer, Andrew Benson.

“We already said a month ago that it is going to be tight. Actually, most of the teams agreed it was going to be tight. Then it was a decision we took.”

On Monday, Lotus technical director Nick Chester said the team wouldn’t take part in the Jerez sessions because it didn’t fit with the “build and development program” on the new E22 chassis.

Today, however, Boullier has admitted that the car simply “will not be ready on time.” But by his estimations, the matter isn’t entirely a problem for Lotus – even though he too has concerns about missing a third of preseason testing.

“We will be ready shortly after [Jerez] – and in some ways, it is not bad because we will have time to watch what the others are doing and nobody will be able to watch what we are doing,” he told the BBC’s Benson.

“Remember, this year it is a big regulation change, so everybody will be watching very carefully what the others have done.”

Still, the Enstone gang would appear to be up against it during the lead-up to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 16. The team, which finished fourth in the constructor’s championship last year, will have just eight days of testing at Bahrain (Feb. 19-22, Feb. 27-March 2) to prepare for the new season.

It’s a time crunch for sure, and we’ll see how Boullier and his squad handles that over the next couple of months.

NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

F1 Grand Prix of Germany
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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

Follow @JerryBonkowski