Susie Wolff’s F1 practice ends after just 20 minutes

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Susie Wolff did end F1’s 22 year wait for a female driver to take part in a grand prix weekend session today, but her practice lasted just 20 minutes after her car was hit with a problem.

Wolff has worked with Williams as a test driver for over two years, and was given the call-up for a practice run-out this weekend at Silverstone. This morning, she became the first woman since Giovanna Amati in 1992 to take part in an official F1 session, and duly went out for her installation laps at the beginning of the session.

However, before she got the chance to put in a quick flying lap, her Williams car ground to a halt just past pit exit, thus bringing her session to an early end. After 22 years, her bow lasted less than 22 minutes.

Wolff reported a loss of oil pressure over the team radio, and the team quickly set about investigating the issue, which was later determined to have been an engine-related failure.

Despite the problem, she remained in good spirits, and was seen laughing and joking with team owner Sir Frank Williams as the session continued.

On the other side of the garage, the situation was even worse as Felipe Massa crashed his car just five minutes after Wolff’s stoppage. Coming out of Stowe, he ran wide and spun into the barriers in a repeat of his faux pas during practice last year. The team will be working hard to fix the car ahead of FP2 later today.

Wolff will get another chance to test the Williams during practice for the German Grand Prix in two weeks’ 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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