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Sainz expecting ‘giant step forward’ in 2017 F1 car performance

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Carlos Sainz Jr. believes that the 2017-spec Formula 1 cars will offer a “giant step forward” in performance ahead of the first collective testing in two weeks’ time.

In a bid to make F1 cars multiple seconds per lap faster and look more radical, a number of significant changes have been made to the sport’s technical regulations for 2017.

Among them are aerodynamic tweaks that will give the cars more downforce and wider tires, both of which should amount to a sizeable gain in lap time.

“For us, every year driving the car is an incredible pleasure: the seat, the pedals, the feeling from the brake, the steering wheel. Every car has its tricks and you want to see how it is going to behave,” Sainz told Spanish newspaper Marca.

“Then yes, you get into your bubble and start to try things. And cars are getting better, but in particular, this year F1 will take a giant step forward in terms of performance: much larger tires, much higher levels of downforce.

“This year, when I get into the car, I’ll have a bit more of an itch [to race] because of that, because I know that the car is going to run much faster.”

Sainz will get his first taste of Scuderia Toro Rosso’s 2017 car, the STR12, on February 27 at the start of pre-season testing in Barcelona, Spain.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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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.