F1 could reduce practice sessions to help cut costs


Formula 1 is expected to scrap one of the Friday practice sessions in an attempt to cut costs and financially help the teams that are further down the grid.

Currently, there are two practice sessions held on a Friday lasting 90 minutes, with a third one-hour session taking place on a Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon. However, the parties running the sport are now looking to remove one of the Friday sessions in order to reduce running and cut costs, according to reports.

It is expected that the earlier session on Friday would be scrapped, with the second session being held later in the afternoon to allow people to attend once they have finished work, thus aiding ticket sales.

This move would essentially condense the formalities from an F1 weekend from four days down to three, meaning that those travelling to the race could leave one day later. In turn, this would help to reduce costs.

According to the BBC, the plans have been approved by the three major bodies running the sport – the FIA, the commercial rights holder, and the F1 Strategy Group – and could be put in place for the 2015 season.

Currently, Thursdays are dedicated to previewing the race and media interviews. However, under this plan, these would take place on a Friday morning ahead of practice.

This would also ensure that some of the sessions are not wasted, as we see in Singapore and Abu Dhabi. FP1 usually takes place in the daytime, while all of the other sessions are at night, making it far from representative and not very beneficial.

The changes are yet to be formally confirmed, but with the major power players in F1 approving of them, a first step – albeit a small one – towards cutting costs may be taken.

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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