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Alonso will quit F1 if calendar hit 25 races

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Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has said he will quit Formula 1 if the sport’s new owner, Liberty Media, increased the number of races per season to around 25 in the next few years.

Liberty completed its takeover of F1 in January and has confirmed that it is looking to grow the sport’s calendar beyond the 20 races currently on the schedule and push into new markets, with 21 events planned for next year.

Concerns have been raised about the pressure that a 25-race schedule would place on the paddock considering the packed year that teams already have once testing, development and media activities are factored in.

Alonso was quoted in the Spanish media as saying that he would quit F1 in the calendar did hit 25 races, and the McLaren-Honda driver confirmed that he was correctly quoted on Thursday in the FIA press conference ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.

“I started when the calendar was 16 races, plus the tests, and now we keep on increasing the races year after year and I think we are in a number that is quite demanding already,” Alonso said.

“The life you have, between the preparation, the sponsor events, the tests, the commitments you have plus 20-21 races, I think it is already enough.

“If there are 25 or 26 races or whatever, I think it’s good in one aspect but in other aspects, in how demanding becomes your life, at this point of my career, I consider that a good quality of life is more important than to do more seasons in F1.

“So if the calendar stays between 20-21, so this range that we know from the last couple of years, I’ll be happy to continue.

“If it’s increasing, like NASCAR, where they have 40 or 50 races, it’s not for me. It’s better for other drivers.”

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was also asked about calendar growth, saying: “I haven’t really given it any thought, but I understand what Fernando’s saying and tend to agree with him.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”