Alonso targeting third place in both F1 championships

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Fernando Alonso has set his sights on finishing third in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship behind the two Mercedes drivers, and is also hoping to help Ferrari fend off Williams to secure the same position in the constructors’ standings.

The team is currently enduring a difficult season after struggling to adapt to the new technical regulations for 2014. However, Alonso has continued to lead the team, and is just sixteen points behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo for third place in the drivers’ standings.

Although he knows it will be tough, he hopes to secure a top three finish in both tables come the end of the season.

“The priority is to help the team and to get in the fight for third place in the championship that we lost to Williams in Germany and recovered in Hungary,” Alonso explained on Thursday in Belgium. “I think it will be a close fight until the end.

“We have two races now that are a little bit in favor of Williams’ characteristics, so we need to deliver good results over the next two weekends to score good points. In the drivers’ championship, I’d like to finish third, fighting with Ricciardo.

“I know that this is quite an ambitious target so we’ll see what we can do.”

Alonso also reacted to claims from team principal Marco Mattiacci that Ferrari must become more prepared to take risk and be more aggressive. The Spaniard feels that this has been the philosophy at Maranello for some time.

“From the end of 2011, we had more or less the same message,” he said. “We took risks and were quite aggressive with the design of the 2012 car, with the pull rod at the front and the different concept of the exhaust. I don’t think that we were not aggressive enough.

“We just need to put some things together, we need to keep improving the car, the factory, the facilities, and be a stronger team with new ideas and new people coming in.”

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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