Hinchcliffe seeks the momentum from Iowa win heading to Pocono

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Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe enters this weekend’s Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco looking to carry the momentum from his third win of the IZOD IndyCar Series season two weeks ago in Iowa.

Hinchcliffe enters Pocono fourth in points, 66 points behind championship leader Helio Castroneves.

“It’s tough for anyone to have predicted that we would be three‑time winners at the halfway point in the season, and having said that, with three wins, we are still only fourth in points, so we definitely have had some weekends that really didn’t go to plan,” the Canadian said of his season to date. “So it’s really been this sort of up‑and‑down season and that’s not what you predict or plan for coming into a year.”

Besides that, he’s trying to find the balance on setup for “the tricky triangle” and on maintaining focus and stamina to get through a 400-mile race and doubleheader races in Toronto on consecutive weekends.

“I know how I normally feel after Sunday (in Toronto); and the fact that we are coming off a 400‑mile race the week before – you know, we have done a lot of physical training in the buildup to that,” he explained. “You don’t want to do too much at this stage now. You don’t want to wear yourself out. This is the period where you’ve done the hardest part of the work, and you’re sort of recovering now and preparing more than anything. And it’s going to come down to being well taken care of on the weekend, hydration, stretching when you need it, and just try to be smart about it.”

Hinchcliffe described the balance of trying to set a car up for the polar opposites of the track.

“When we were there at the test, we had incredibly high and gusty wind conditions, and with the exposure of Turn 3 and without the banking to sort of help stabilize the car a bit, that was probably the bigger challenge for us,” he said.

“But you know, I can certainly see come the race weekend in a big pack, Turn 1, to do it flat is tough, man. That corner took me a while to figure out. TK (Tony Kanaan) and I were talking after the test; he was in the same situation.”

Alonso would be ‘very happy’ to finish F1 career with McLaren

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Fernando Alonso says he would be “very happy” to see out his Formula 1 career with McLaren after signing a new multi-year contract with the British team, announced on Thursday.

Alonso, 36, ended speculation about his future by agreeing a new deal with McLaren, hopeful of returning to the front of the field next year when the team swaps Honda power for Renault engines.

Alonso admitted to considering options outside of F1 before agreeing to stay at McLaren, and was thought to only be chasing a one-year extension in order to be in a position to snap up a more attractive seat in the volatile 2019 market.

However, Alonso confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the deal with McLaren stretched beyond the end of next year, adding he would be content to see out his time in the sport with the team.

“I never talk about contracts, but one thing I can say is it is a long-term partnership,” Alonso said.

“I am very happy to finish my career at McLaren. So I don’t think it is going to be only one year.”

Alonso also revealed he had options with teams high up the field in F1 for 2018 just a couple of months ago, but was always leaning to staying at McLaren despite not scoring a podium with the team in almost three years.

“There were some other options in F1. In the summer there were still some options at the top teams, but my desire was to stay with McLaren,” Alonso said.

“But at that time they were in conversation with different engine suppliers, so I had to give them time to sort out their situation.

“Then McLaren opted for a Renault engine which delayed my decision, because I had to understand what Renault’s plans were for next years.

“But when I had everything on the table, everything was pretty clear.”