Fernando Alonso denies contact with other F1 teams

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Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso has denied speaking to any other team about a seat for 2015 as speculation about his future continues to circulate around the F1 paddock.

The Spaniard joined Ferrari back in 2010 in a deal that was expected to see both the driver and team waltz to the championships. Instead, Alonso has finished as the runner-up on three occasions to Sebastian Vettel, and neither the driver nor the team has won a race in the last twelve months.

With McLaren switching to Honda power for 2015, a move back to Woking is thought to be an option for Alonso. However, he denied speaking to any teams yesterday, and instead made light of the situation.

“It’s the same question every year in July,” he said. “From 2003 I start, so eleven years.

“I didn’t talk with any team, and it’s not my priority. We have to score some good points this weekend and some good results this year.”

Alonso was rumored to be holding talks with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo in Maranello last week about a new contract, but he explained that he was there to use the simulator and that contact with the senior management at Ferrari was nothing new.

“In Maranello, I’ve been for the simulator,” he said. “I talk with President and with Marco everyday, so it was no different last week.”

McLaren chief Ron Dennis has said that he would welcome Alonso back to the team despite a tumultuous year together back in 2007, that resulted in the Spaniard returning to Renault for 2008.

However, Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen has fared even worse in 2014, and currently sits P12 in the drivers’ standings with just 19 points to his name – some 66 less than Alonso. The Finn is also unconcerned about his future with the team, saying that the focus lies with improving the F14 T car.

“I’m sure we can fix them,” Raikkonen said. “How fast? I hope quickly but it depends on many things.

“I have a contract so I’m not worried about that for the future.”

Both drivers will be hoping for a good result at this weekend’s German Grand Prix. Click here for full details on NBC Sports’ broadcasting schedule for the biggest weekend of racing in 2014.

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on NBCSN, NBC Sports App this week

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After five years and 98 Grands Prix broadcast since 2013, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of Formula 1 concludes with the 2017 season finale from Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit this week.

The lights come on for the day-into-night Grand Prix of the year as the sun sets on five years of broadcasts, original content and additional digital specific features such as Paddock Pass.

For Abu Dhabi this week, all of the race, qualifying and second free practice will be live on NBCSN with first and third free practice live on the NBC Sports App. The race returns is back in the usual morning a.m. time slots after three mid-day races in Austin, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, and a pair of overnight affairs in Kuala Lumpur and Suzuka. Formula 2 coverage of its season finale from Abu Dhabi also airs both on NBCSN and online.

With this the final race of the season before F1’s winter break, there’s still a handful of things to get sorted even though Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have wrapped their respective championships.

Sebastian Vettel (Brazil) and Max Verstappen (Mexico) have won the last two races, with Hamilton’s most recent win coming at Circuit of the Americas. Will it be any of these three that wrap the year on a high or could any of their teammates – Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo or Valtteri Bottas – upend the script?

Mercedes has won the last three races in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton winning in 2014 and 2016 with Nico Rosberg taking the 2015 crown.

Vettel and Hamilton have three wins apiece in Abu Dhabi, Vettel having taken all of his with Red Bull in 2009, 2010 and 2013, and Hamilton adding a 2011 McLaren triumph to his last two with Mercedes. Raikkonen (2012, Lotus) and Rosberg are the other Abu Dhabi winners, and while both Vettel and Raikkonen have won in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari never has in the first eight races here.

The last place up for grabs in the constructor’s battle is for sixth, with Toro Rosso (53 points), Renault (49) and Haas (47) separated by only six total points. Toro Rosso and Renault got into a nasty war of words in Brazil, and will part ways after the weekend.

Felipe Massa signs off his career in F1 for the second and expected final time at Williams, and with Toro Rosso having confirmed Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley last week, his seat is one of only three left to fill for 2018, and the most attractive.

McLaren and Honda also bring to an end their partnership after three troubled seasons, but on the bright side will look to score points for a third straight race together, which hasn’t happened since the Hungarian, German and Belgian Grands Prix of 2016.

As ever, and perhaps for the final time as a collective unit, Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett will be on the call with Will Buxton reporting from the pits and paddock.

Here’s the F1 schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

  • Practice 1: Friday, Nov. 24, 4 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Nov. 24, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Nov. 25, 5 a.m.-6 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Nov. 25, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m.-10:55 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET (NBCSN)