Ecclestone: New Jersey still viable, French GP set to return

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Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said that he is still in close contact with the organizers of the proposed Grand Prix of America in New Jersey, with plans for a race in 2015 still in place.

After being postponed in both 2013 and 2014, doubt has been raised about the likelihood of the race at Port Imperial going ahead. However, Ecclestone said that financial solutions are being found by promoter Leo Hindery Jr.’s team, and that he is happy for the race to go ahead once everything is in place.

“New Jersey have just written to me,” he explained to racer.com. “Somebody has paid some more money for outstanding bills and they are saying they have got more money coming in. If they do what they have to do, I’m happy.”

Ecclestone also revealed that the French Grand Prix could be poised to make a comeback, having last been held in 2008.

“We have got a contract on the table with France for a race at Magny-Cours,” he said. “To meet the terms of our contract, the organizers will need money and we will want some kind of guarantee that it’s not going to be a one-night stand.”

With three French drivers in Formula 1 and a large fanbase in the nation, returning to Magny-Cours would be a popular move.

As ever though, it appears that there are more races than there are places on the calendar. Currently, the figure stands at 19. Throw in New Jersey, Mexico, France, India, Korea, and (believe it or not) Azerbaijan, and it creates a struggle for a place on the calendar that could ultimately come down to whoever has the biggest wallet.

Ecclestone also approached the organizers at Long Beach about a possible return for F1 in California after the contract was opened up for bidding.

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.