Photo: Getty Images

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

Leave a comment

While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship remains dormant, a pair of its drivers will be quite busy at this weekend’s Rolex 24.

Further, a couple news stories surfaced that wrapped a conflict going back two years and offered a hint about one team changing its name.

Below is a recap of the Formula 1 news week:

Alonso, Stroll Ready for Rolex 24

The 2018 edition of the Rolex 24 sees a pair of full-time Formula 1 drivers grace the grid in McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, in United Autosports’ No. 23 entry, and Williams Martini Racing’s Lance Stroll, a part of the driver rotation in the No. 37 Jackie Chan DCR JOTA entry.

Alonso is, unsurprisingly, the more high-profile of the two, with the Rolex 24 continuing his preparation for a possible entry at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Rolex is Alonso’s first sports car race, let alone a sports car endurance race. Further still, it’s his first time running on a track that features high-banking in the corners, a facet that created a different sensation for him behind the wheel.

“You feel the compression in the body, you feel the visibility change because when in a normal car on the circuit, your view in the car is longer ahead,” he detailed following the Roar Before the 24 test. “When you are in the corner with banking you see only the next 200 meters of the track. “But it was good fun, a good feeling after missing track time. So far, so good.’’

For Lance Stroll, this year’s Rolex is a return trip for him, the 19-year-old having previously contested the event back in 2016, when he finished fifth with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing.

Alonso was selected to do the qualifying in his No. 23 Ligier JS P217 Gibson, qualifying 13th, the best of the Ligier entries. Stroll ultimately ceded to Robin Frijns, who qualified the No. 37 Oreca 07 Gibson in sixth.

Force India, Sauber Drop 2015 Complaint of Anti-Competitive Practices

Back in 2015, Sahara Force India and Sauber F1 Team filed a complaint to the European Commission over anti-competitive practices in Formula One, primarily contesting the distribution of revenue and the process by which rules were established.

However, earlier this week, both teams announced via press releases that they agreed to withdraw the aforementioned complaints, citing progress in discussions involving such topics as prize money, cost reduction, and engine regulations.

Force India to Change its Name?

A long-standing rumor has Sahara Force India changing its name. This rumor grew more legs earlier in the week when a report on Crash.net detailed that the team could reveal its new name at the launch of their 2018 car on February 25.

One of the possible names is Force F1 Team, with an entity reportedly already registered.

Follow@KyleMLavigne

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

Photo: John Force Racing
Leave a comment

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.