Alonso: No predictions on how Ferrari upgrades will fare in Canada

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Fernando Alonso and Ferrari have had their eye on the Canadian Grand Prix (Sun., 2 p.m. ET on NBC-TV) as an opportunity to make a leap in performance.

But as Circuit Gilles Villeneuve beckons, the two-time World Champion knows that they can’t just settle for pulling even with their rivals.

“We have been improving the car on the aero side, while in the simulator, we have done a lot of work on the set-up with the aim of arriving in Canada with a better car,” he said to the team website recently.

“We can’t make any predictions because our improvement has to be seen in relation to what our competitors come up with. We need to match them and then find a plus.”

Nonetheless, the Spaniard is confident that everyone’s efforts in Maranello will pay off. He spent a few days inside the Ferrari factory with his crew-mates after his fourth-place finish in Monaco and noted a “good atmosphere.”

“Everyone is very motivated and hungry for good results,” Alonso said. “We are realistic and well aware of where we are at the moment, but from now on, we want to be in a position to get better results and enjoy our race weekends a bit more and everyone is working in one direction to improve the car.”

Alonso and Ferrari sit third in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship respectively, but with Mercedes covering them on both fronts (Red Bull is also ahead of Ferrari for second in the Constructors by 21 points), there is much work to be done.

They hope that progress will begin this weekend at CGV, a track where Alonso won in 2006 and a track that, in his mind, rewards precision.

“It has only six or seven corners, but each one has something special,” he said. “They have an element of danger and getting them right brings you a lot of lap time. There is definitely no room for error, as all the walls are very very close.”

Dutch Grand Prix becomes fourth Formula 1 race canceled this season

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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — The Dutch Grand Prix became the fourth Formula One race canceled this season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after organizers decided Thursday they didn’t want to play host to an event without spectators.

It was to be the first Dutch GP since 1985, but F1 wants to start the season with no spectators at races.

“We would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula 1 in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands,” race director Jan Lammers said in a statement. “We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year.”

The race in Zandvoort was set for May 3 and initially postponed. Fans who bought tickets can use them next year.

The coastal circuit has been redesigned, with some corners banked to facilitate faster racing.

The other races canceled this year were the season-opening Australian GP on March 15; the Monaco GP on May 24; and the French GP on June 28.

Another six have been postponed.

F1 organizers still hope to reschedule those and hold 15 to 18 races this season, starting in July with back-to-back races at the Austrian GP.