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Gutierrez takes positives from Singapore despite finishing 11th, again

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Esteban Gutierrez took positives from his display in Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix despite finishing 11th for the third time in the past six races.

Gutierrez has not scored a point in Formula 1 since the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix, a drought that is approaching three years.

The Haas F1 driver battled for a place in the top 10 through much of the race in Singapore, only to finish around 20 seconds adrift of Renault’s Kevin Magnussen in P10.

Gutierrez now has five 11th-place finishes to his name in 2016, and has spent 116 laps in 11th place so far this season – more than any other driver.

“It wasn’t an easy race, but I think the whole weekend we were pretty consistent. It’s this consistency that’s helping us to understand and work on the details and really try to improve,” Gutierrez said.

“I lost a bit of time at the start and to recover that on track was pretty difficult. Trying to push the tires, I overheated them and they started to drop off at the end of the stint.

“However, we ended 11th, so close to the points again. We just need to keep optimistic and push forward.

“I’m proud of the crew. They’ve worked really well together. Although it hasn’t been a simple one this weekend, I believe that Malaysia will be better and we’ll have a better understanding of the car, which will help us attack the front.”

Gutierrez was Haas’ sole finisher – and, in fact, starter – in Singapore after teammate Romain Grosjean failed to make the grid due to a brake-by-wire issue.

Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

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Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”