Alonso re-affirms future with Ferrari

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Fernando Alonso has re-affirmed his future with Ferrari, admitting that he is unsure of what more he can say to dismiss reports suggesting he may be angling a move away from Maranello.

On Friday in Singapore, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh admitted that he was interested in bringing Alonso back to the team ahead of Honda’s arrival in Formula One in 2015, with the Japanese manufacturer set to supply McLaren with engines. However, Alonso has rejected this notion, once again confirming that he wishes to end his Formula One career with Ferrari.

“I’ve been four races now saying that I will stay in Ferrari and I would like to end my career here and extend the contract, whatever they like,” Alonso said, ending rumors that he could make a shock return to McLaren at some point in the future.

Having qualified a lowly P7 in Singapore, Alonso appeared upbeat, suggesting that it was the best result possible given Ferrari’s pace at high downforce circuits such as Marina Bay.

“At a high downforce circuit, we were fourth fastest in Hungary, we can here and we are maybe fourth fastest,” he said. “It’s sad news for us, obviously, but nothing we can do now apart from preparing for the race tomorrow.”

Despite admitting that the team lacks the pace of Red Bull and Mercedes, Alonso was quick to remind journalists that the team is still ahead of Lotus and the Silver Arrows in the constructors’ championship.

“We are second in the world championship. That’s our strong point.”

Alonso starts directly behind teammate Felipe Massa in Singapore tomorrow, with the Brazilian set to make way for Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the season.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.