Alonso rates time with Ferrari as 9/10, finishes P9 in final race for the Scuderia


ABU DHABI – Fernando Alonso’s time with Ferrari came to an end in Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening as the Spaniard finished a lowly ninth at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Alonso endured a difficult race, finishing two seconds behind Sebastian Vettel despite the German driver starting the race from the pit lane after being excluded from qualifying. However, he did manage to beat Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen once again, picking up four points for P9.

On Thursday, it was confirmed that Alonso would be leaving Ferrari at the end of the season, making way for four-time world champion Vettel at Maranello. He is expected to join McLaren for 2015.

In his final press session as a Ferrari driver, Alonso was asked to reflect on his time with the Scuderia, scoring the five-year spell at nine out of ten.

“From one to ten, I think those five years, I would put nine,” Alonso said. “I know it seems high, but for me, it’s my opinion. Anyone can have their own opinion. I enjoyed it so much. I grew up as a driver and as a person. I worked with amazing people here, and I raced with heart and at the best level of my career.

“I never imagined to have such a beautiful performance over these five years, fighting for the championship, racing with everything that I have inside, never give up. I am proud of the team and the things we did together.

“We missed the title, but we raced in a very dominant era of Formula 1 with Red Bull and this year with Mercedes. No one can come closer to them. This is what I missed to put a ten over these five years.

“Any driver should drive for Ferrari at least for one year, because it’s a unique experience.”

Alonso issued a number of special Ferrari shirts for the race to the team, celebrating his five-year stint at Maranello. Although they did not win a title, the partnership will be remembered as one of the most unique in F1 history, even if it was not the most successful.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change