Mattiacci excited about American involvement in Formula 1

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Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci has stressed the importance of American involvement in Formula 1 as the Italian marque continues to negotiate supplying engines to Gene Haas’s new team.

Haas won the race to join the sport earlier this year, and plans for Haas Formula to enter F1 in 2016. At the Canadian Grand Prix, he spent a lot of time in the Ferrari garage talking to Mattiacci, and the Italian team boss revealed that a decision should be made soon regarding a possible engine supply.

“We are doing some progress, and naturally entering Formula 1 is a challenge,” he explained when asked about talks with Haas by this writer. “I think there is, again, work in progress, and probably a decision will be made in the coming weeks.”

However, Mattiacci is delighted that an American outfit is entering the sport, and says that he will welcome Haas Formula to the sport regardless of its engine supply, be it Ferrari or otherwise.

“The positive things I believe that to have Americans that start to look and invest in Formula 1,” Mattiacci said. “It’s really a very important topic to stress because this is, at the moment, the largest and most important economy in the world.

“It’s a good sign that Americans start to look and invest in Formula 1.

“Haas can go to us, or someone else, but we will welcome the United States to look in Formula 1.”

The sport has enjoyed a revival in the United States of late, with the grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, being a huge success. A second race is also being negotiated, and American driver Alexander Rossi is edging towards a full-time seat in the sport.

There is still a very long road for Haas and his team to negotiate, but the paddock certainly appears to be enthusiastic about adding an American team to the grid in the next two years.

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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