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Alfa Romeo back in F1 with Sauber after more than 30 years

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TURIN, Italy (AP) Alfa Romeo has joined up with the Sauber team for a return to Formula One after an absence of more than 30 years.

Sauber said Wednesday it has reached a “multi-year technical and commercial partnership” with the Italian automaker, which is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

From 2018, the team will be known as the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. Next year’s car will bear the Alfa Romeo logo and will be equipped with Ferrari power units.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the deal marks “a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand.”

The Alfa name last appeared in F1 in 1985, although its biggest achievements came during the series’ first two years, when Giuseppe “Nino” Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1950 and 1951 titles in Alfas.

Ferrari junior program and Formula Two champion Charles Leclerc is expected to drive for Sauber next season and there is also speculation that Antonio Giovinazzi, another Ferrari product, could become the team’s second driver.

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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