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Formula 1: Recapping the past week’s news

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Here’s some of the biggest news from the F1 world this past week:

‘Grid Kids’ to Replace ‘Grid Girls’

The controversial debate about ‘Grid Girls’ came to a conclusion earlier in the week when Formula One revealed that ‘Grid Kids’ will replace ‘Grid Girls.’ A regular practice of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, Formula 1 will pull kids from various motorsport clubs and karting series to stand alongside drivers on the grid before races during the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

Sean Bratches, F1’s managing director of commercial operations, quickly explained that the change is geared toward engaging young fans in the sport. “What better way to inspire the next generation of Formula 1 heroes?” he quipped during the announcement.

McLaren, Dell Confirm New Partnership

McLaren F1 Team has its first corporate sponsor and partner in several years after confirming a new partnership with computer company Dell Technologies.

“McLaren’s agreement with Dell Technologies expands beyond the traditional sponsorship model. We are like-minded organizations led by the key principles of technical innovation and human progress at the cutting-edge of data-driven technology,” said McLaren executive director Zak Brown in a team announcement.

The confirmation represents the first major corporate sponsorship for McLaren since Vodafone left the team after the 2013 season.

Confirmed Launch Dates

The first of the 2018 cars is scheduled to be officially launched next week on February 15, with Williams Martini Racing being the first team unveil their 2018 challenger.

Below are confirmed dates for 2018 car launches.

February 15 – Williams Martini Racing

February 20 -Alfa Romeo Sauber, Renault Sport F1 Team

February 22 – Scuderia Ferrari, Mercedes AMG Petronas

February 23 – McLaren F1 Team

February 26 – Scuderia Toro Rosso

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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.