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Leclerc already feeling at home with Sauber ahead of F1 debut

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Charles Leclerc says he is already feeling “confident and comfortable” at Alfa Romeo Sauber ahead of his step up to Formula 1 next season with the team.

Leclerc, 20, was announced as being part of Sauber’s line-up for 2018 at a launch event on Saturday in Milan, having won the Formula 2 and GP3 titles over the last two seasons.

The Ferrari junior has already completed a number of practice sessions and tests with Sauber, meaning that while he is relishing the chance to get going, there will be no awkward acclimatizing period as he knows the team already.

“I am very happy to be entering Formula 1 in 2018,” Leclerc said. “First and foremost, I would like to thank Ferrari for their support. I would also like to thank Sauber for their trust and confidence in me as a driver, and look forward to joining the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for the upcoming season.

“It was a great experience to drive a few FP1 sessions and tire tests for the Sauber F1 Team in 2017, during which the team welcomed me straight away.

“It is a great working environment, and I already feel confident and comfortable here.

“In 2018, my aim will be to gain more experience in Formula 1, and to bring as much value to the team as possible in return.”

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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