Report: Ecclestone lashes out at Manor, says they’ll pay after Australia

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Car count was a major topic at the weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne where 20 cars were entered. Only 15 took the grid, two more were eliminated after the first lap and two more were potentially at risk of being seized earlier in the weekend.

It’s the two Manor cars, however, that have FOM supremo Bernie Ecclestone furious and up in arms for their weekend of non-participation.

Neither car turned a single lap at Albert Park, but the team was cleared by the stewards of any wrongdoing to the legal letter of the regulations.

Ecclestone, meanwhile, took the opportunity to lash out at the team’s display to Reuters.

“We should have never ever, ever allowed Manor to do what they’ve done. It’s our fault. I predicted this would happen,” Ecclestone told Reuters.

He added, “They had no intention of racing in Australia. Zero. They couldn’t have raced if someone had gone there with a machine gun and put it to their head.”

Ecclestone confirmed the team will “have to pay to get out there and get out of there,” in reference to its participation at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Manor looked set to miss the 2015 season in total after its withdrawal from the final three Grands Prix of 2014, and went into administration in the offseason.

However, fresh investment emerged over the winter, the team exited administration and made it to Melbourne. Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi are set to drive when the cars do take to the track.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.