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Marchionne: Ferrari could quit F1 over proposed changes

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ARESE, Italy (AP) Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says the threat that the Italian team could leave Formula One is a “serious” one.

Marchionne is unhappy with the sport’s proposed 2021 engine rules, which were revealed at the end of October, and has said that Ferrari could leave F1.

He reiterated that message on Saturday at a news conference to launch the new partnership between Alfa Romeo and Sauber.

“The dialogue has started and will continue to evolve,” Marchionne said. “We have time until 2020 to find a solution which benefits Ferrari. The threat of Ferrari leaving Formula One is serious. The agreement with Sauber expires in 2020-2021, right when Ferrari could leave.

“We have to find a solution which is good for the sport but we also have to be clear on the things we can’t back down on.”

Ferrari is the only team to have competed in every F1 season since its inauguration in 1950.

It is also the most successful team, with 16 constructors’ championships and 15 drivers’ titles.

However, the storied scuderia is now approaching a decade without a trophy, having last won the constructors’ title in 2008, while its last individual champion was Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.

Mercedes has also complained about the proposed changes, which will make teams more equal in terms of engine power.

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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