Caterham adds another young driver to testing lineup later this year

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Although Caterham F1 already has Robin Frijns and Alexander Rossi on its bench, it’s got another youngster to keep an eye on in the form of Englishman Will Stevens, who’s competing in Formula Renault 3.5 this year.

Stevens will have a go in the Caterham CT05 chassis on July 8 at the Silverstone test, which comes just after the British Grand Prix. It’ll be his first run in an F1 car in a year.

“It’ll be great to be back in an F1 car for the first time since the 2013 Silverstone test and with the amount of time I’ve already spent in the virtual car in the simulator, I can’t wait to see how it compares to the real thing,” said Stevens in a team release. “I’m sure we’ll have a busy run plan set for the day and my focus will be on doing the best job I can for the team, building on the work I’ve been doing all year in the sim at Leafield.”

Stevens ranks fourth in FR3.5 thus far with a win and two other podiums. As Frijns and Rossi are targeting F1 race seats next year, chances are Stevens is about 2-3 years away from arriving in F1 at the moment. At the very least, it’s a chance for actual seat time.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force qualifies 15th with no motor explosion, says ‘I need to race smart’ Sunday

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There’s good news and bad news for John Force fans.

The good news is the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ did not suffer yet another motor explosion after enduring his third in three races during Friday’s qualifying session at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway.

In fact, Force intentionally feathered the gas pedal on his Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car to make sure it wasn’t again overtaxed, qualifying 15th with a run of 4.281 seconds at 222.88 mph.

Now for the bad news.

When Sunday’s final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET, Force will be matched against daughter and No. 2 qualifier, Courtney Force (3.914 seconds at 332.18 mph).

“It is a little bit of a bummer that I have to race him in the first round,” Courtney Force said of her father. “Tomorrow is a new day and we will have all our stuff ready and we will put on our game faces to go for that win.”

Courtney Force is seeking her second consecutive win, having also won two weeks ago at the second national event of the season in suburban Phoenix.

“I want to have a good side-by-side safe race tomorrow in round one,” Force said. “Our goal is to take my dad down and have a long day at the track winning rounds.

“We want to move the momentum over from Phoenix. I feel like my guys have a good handle on this Advance Auto Parts Camaro.”

But don’t count out dear old dad, an eight-time Funny Car winner at Gainesville.

“I am the kind of guy that, when it is qualifying day, I run it to the edge.,” John Force said. “I run it even if I know it will hurt itself.

“(With his three motor explosions this season) I am rethinking all that. What I am looking is the long haul. To go out here and say I have to win this race or I have to qualify low after as much stuff as we have put on the ground in Pomona and Phoenix and then to come here and do it again is bad. … We want to fix this problem and move on.

“Tomorrow I am going to have to play the odds game. I am going to run it to 700 or 800 feet and hope (Courtney) gets in trouble. I need to race smart.”

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