Fernando Alonso unconcerned by starting position

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Fernando Alonso has explained how he is less concerned about an accident starting P9 for the Belgian Grand Prix tomorrow following the incident at the beginning of last year’s race at Spa-Francorchamps.

In 2012, Alonso had started sixth but became caught up in a large accident at turn one caused by Romain Grosjean. The incident ended the race for Grosjean, Alonso, Sergio Perez, Pastor Maldonado and Lewis Hamilton, with the culprit also receiving a one race ban for his misdemeanour. Despite being further back in the pack this year, Alonso is less worried about a repeat of this incident.

“It would be more of a problem if we started fourth, third, second,” the Spaniard said after qualifying. “This is the position that I arrived last year at the first corner, more of a problem then.

“Starting ninth, maybe I can take it a little bit more easier and gain the positions that the people gained last year through our accident.”

However, Alonso did call on his colleagues to be sensible through the first corner, with the tight La Source hairpin being a hotspot for accidents.

“Hopefully there is no accident tomorrow, we can have a clean race. The first corner here is extremely tight, there is always some contact, there is always some front nose that’s flying away. You don’t do Eau Rouge after that.”

Ferrari endured another disappointing qualifying session with Alonso finishing ninth, one place ahead of his teammate Felipe Massa. The rain shower during Q3 hindered many teams, but Mercedes and Red Bull managed to time their laps perfectly in order to make the most of the change in the weather, and subsequently locked out the front row. However, Ferrari proved in practice that they are in the running this weekend, and Alonso will be hoping to produce another good performance at Spa tomorrow in order to keep his championship hopes alive.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.