Ecclestone unsure about London GP funding


Bernie Ecclestone is unsure whether or not a grand prix in the centre of London is going to happen in the future, but was pleased with yesterday’s news concerning a possible event.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed yesterday that new parliament legislation would allow more road racing to take place, opening up the possibility of a London Grand Prix that would incorporate landmarks such as Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.

Despite being a supporter of the event, Ecclestone made no secret of his concerns when speaking to Press Association.

“It just depends on what we can come up with commercially because how are we going to fund it?” he questioned.

“The news is good, but I don’t know whether you’d have street racing because it’s not cheap to put on something that’s safe. Street racing is expensive.

“But if they ever get it together then we’ll see what happens. At least it’s a good sign, a step in the right direction.”

Most grands prix are funded either by private investors or the nation’s government. The Singapore Grand Prix has been a huge success for the country’s tourist industry, and it might be possible for the British government to get involved and reap the rewards of its capital hosting a grand prix. With two major airports and great travel links, it could bring hundreds of thousands of fans to the city for the race weekend.

However, as Ecclestone said, there is a very long way to go before the race could go ahead. Nevertheless, it is certainly a lucrative and interesting proposition for the sport and the city of London.

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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