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Minardi: Renault keen to re-sign Alonso from McLaren

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Former Formula 1 team owner Gian Carlo Minardi believes that Renault is already working to re-sign Fernando Alonso following its decision to return to the series as a constructor for 2016.

Renault confirmed earlier this month that it had gone ahead with its planned takeover of Lotus F1 Team, marking the revival of its works operation that last raced back in 2010.

Alonso enjoyed his greatest successes in F1 with Renault, taking his first pole position and first race win with the team in 2003 before winning the world championship in 2005 and 2006.

After a tenuous season with McLaren in 2007, Alonso returned to Renault for two seasons before moving to Ferrari at the end of 2009.

Still stranded on two world titles, Alonso endured his worst season in F1 since 2001 with McLaren in 2015 as the team encountered a myriad of problems with its new Honda power unit.

Writing on his website, minardi.it, Minardi said that he believes Renault boss Carlos Ghosn is already working to bring Alonso back for a third stint with the French manufacturer.

“With the purchase of Lotus and their return as a constructor, [Renault] have all the interest to reinforce each of their departments,” Minardi said.

“They are looking for human resources, technicians, and drivers. President Carlos Ghosn is working to tear Fernando Alonso away from Honda.”

Alonso remains locked into a McLaren contract until the end of 2018 that team CEO Ron Dennis has stressed includes no exit clauses that would allow him to leave early.

In a wide-ranging end of year post, Minardi also hit out at the spiralling costs in F1, believing that the high engine tariffs only hurt smaller teams such as the one he ran between 1985 and 2001.

“Spending over €400 million and having a team of 1,000 people to build two cars is absurd,” Minardi said.

“Like it is crazy paying €25 million for the power unit. Only a few years ago, engines price was €5-6 million. Today, €20 million is the difference and it is difficult to find in this market.”

Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett killed in Pennsylvania race crash

Photo: World of Outlaws
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YORK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) — Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett died after a crash Thursday night at BAPS Motor Speedway.

The 49-year-old Hodnett, from Spring Grove, Pa., was the World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year in 1993 and went on to win 20 World of Outlaws races. He won the opening night this year at the Knoxville Nationals.

“Greg represented the true gentleman competitor in the pit area,” World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter said.

A statement was posted on Hodnett’s racing website, saying: “Please keep (wife) Sherry, the entire Hodnett family, and the Heffner racing team in your thoughts and prayers.

“Greg was a professional in every sense of the word, and will be desperately missed!”

Several NASCAR drivers took to Twitter to express their condolences: