McLaren not planning to leave driver decision until off-season

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McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has said that the team is not planning to wait until the end of the Formula 1 season before making a decision about its driver line-up for the 2015 season.

There has been a great deal of speculation about McLaren’s plans for next year as the British team reunites with engine supplier Honda. The two enjoyed a successful partnership together in the late 1980s, and it has been rumored that the team is looking for a big name driver to kick-start this new deal.

Jenson Button has confirmed that he is not thinking about his future at the moment, and some expected the team to wait until the end of the season before making a decision about its line-up.

However, speaking in Belgium today, Boullier confirmed that the team would not be waiting that long.

“No, it is not our plan to wait that long, no,” he said.

“I’m sure there are a lot of fans waiting, and these two guys are waiting. Obviously we went through some changes in the management of the team as you know, and obviously there is a new strategy that Ron [Dennis] and myself will try to put in place.

“We are in the position to wait a few days or a few weeks until we know where we go in the next few years. That’s why it takes a bit of time.”

When asked about his future, Button chose to focus on his efforts this season as McLaren looks to bounce back from a disappointing campaign in 2013 alongside rookie driver Kevin Magnussen.

“It’s an unusual situation, yes, but sometimes it’s that way,” he said. “Our job is to drive as fast as we can, do the best job for ourselves and the best job for the team.

“I feel that we are both doing the maximum we can, and we’re both doing a very good job.”

Both drivers qualified inside the top ten for tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix, which you can watch live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7.30am ET tomorrow.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.