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Ferrari principals: Important to start fast for title hopes

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Ferrari has pinned the new regulations for 2014 as a golden opportunity to end its respective Formula One title droughts. And if Ferrari doesn’t start in a relative hole, the team hopes it will have a good chance.

That was one of the key points outlined by team principal Stefano Domenicali as part of Ferrari’s online launch Saturday morning.

“The season will be very long. It will be important to start with a very reliable car at the beginning, and have the dynamic on the other side that was here last year,”  he said in a video released by the team.

“There are lots of things to be tested and checked. The most important thing as we have to avoid is to fall under the big pressure that we have. It has to be very clear. Need to stay very focused on the job.”

Without saying as much, that seems like a directive from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo that it’s title-or-bust in 2014 for Domenicali, who has failed to achieve the mark since becoming team principal.

Drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen more or less echoed the thoughts.

“I think Kimi and me as a team, we should be quite strong on paper, as we have had some success in the past,” Alonso said in his video. “You need to discover every year where you’re at. It’s up to us to deliver and do a good job.”

Added Raikkonen, in his: “I want to be 100 percent focused as possible for the following season. It was a good time to have this thing done and get enough running of a Formula One car this year.

“If we are the strongest team, and I hope we will be, we both want to win and the time will tell if we can bring the championships back to Ferrari.”

NHRA: Alexis DeJoria brings free mammograms to Texas, Las Vegas races

DeJoria pink race car for breast cancer awareness month
(Photo courtesy Alexis DeJoria Racing)
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Some drivers see red when they’re behind the wheel of a 300-mph Funny Car.

But NHRA Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria is seeing pink in the month of October – and she’s proud of it.

DeJoria, who owns Alexis DeJoria Racing and drives the Tequila Patron Toyota for Kalitta Racing, is using the color pink to call attention to breast cancer awareness month in October.

DeJoria has partnered with Baylor Healthcare Systems to offer free mammograms to race fans attending this weekend’s AAA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex (Friday and Saturday) in Ennis, Texas.

She’ll reprise that role, partnering with Nevada Health Centers for the Toyota Nationals at The Strip in Las Vegas Oct. 30-31.

According to a media release, ‘”Mammovans’ (mobile mammography units) will be parked in the nitro pits of the racetracks, and free mammograms will be available on-site during both weekends to female ticketholders over the age of 40, regardless of whether or not they have health insurance.”

Those who seek to be screened do not need an appointment or referral. If you have health insurance, bring your insurance information to the race. Test results will be sent via mail approximately ten days after the event.

This year’s initiative continues a program DeJoria began three years ago when she launched the “Free Mammograms for the Fans” program.

Also, DeJoria will drive a hot pink race car in both events.

“I really want to thank the Patrón Spirits Company and Toyota for their support, as well as Kalitta Motorsports, everyone who bought items on our eBay fundraising page, purchased our pink Fight Like a Girl bracelets and made donations,” said DeJoria. “It all goes toward this very wonderful life-saving cause and we would not be able to provide this service to our fans without their support.”

Added Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales USA, “If we are able to save the life of so much as one mother, daughter, sister, wife or friend, it will be well worth our additional investment in our partners at DeJoria (Alexis DeJoria Racing). It truly is rewarding to be able to assist one of our race teams on a program that is so meaningful to so many people.”

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Sir Stirling Moss: Enclosed cockpits in open-wheel racing ‘ridiculous’

Sir Stirling Moss Getty
(Getty Images)
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While IndyCar mulls some type of enclosed cockpits or canopies in their race cars as early as 2017 to enhance driver safety, one racing legend scoffs at the notion that open-wheel racing should go down that path.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Sir Stirling Moss told Road and Track at the recent Lime Rock Historic Festival. “Motor racing is dangerous. And one does it – some of us do it – because it is dangerous. I was one of those. And I think to go and put forward things like that is absolutely ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.”

MORE: IndyCar CEO: No safety changes for 2016 car, despite Wilson death

It’s the opinion of the 85-year-old Moss that safety elements in one form of open-wheel racing – namely, Formula 1 – are as good as they can be at the moment.

“I think quite honestly, most events have good flag marshaling, which is very important,” Moss said. “The drivers know what they can do and they usually stick within their realistic limits.

“But of course, obviously, the sort of racing and etiquette you have on a circuit like this, or, a club circuit, is necessarily pretty different when you start talking Formula One.

“But, I think (danger) is part of the sport. I don’t think anybody wants to get hurt, but they’re all going to push themselves up to their limit, and that’s pretty good.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski