Off The Grid: Japan preview (premieres 11/25 on NBCSN)

Leave a comment

This week marks the conclusion of the 2016 Formula 1 season and along with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix comes the latest edition of the NBC Sports Group original series, Off the Grid.

Second free practice from Abu Dhabi airs at 8 a.m. ET on NBCSN, and will lead straight into the premiere of Off the Grid: Japan at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Prior to the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, NBCSN’s Will Buxton and Jason Swales went into Tokyo for a McLaren Honda-themed episode.

Among the highlights:

  • A real life Mario Kart experience through the streets of Tokyo with Maricar, where Will & Jason dressed up as Yoshi and Mario.
  • Going to a Robot Restaurant in Tokyo with McLaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
  • Visiting the Honda Collection Hall in Motegi, which features an array of Honda-powered race cars.
  • Riding to Suzuka with Fernando Alonso & Jenson Button.

Again, Off the Grid: Japan premieres on NBCSN at 9:30 am ET on Friday, November 25, following FP2 for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. A re-air is scheduled for Sunday, November 27, at 2:30 a.m. ET. Both shows are on NBCSN.

Check out a full preview of the episode in the above video.

Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

Leave a comment

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.”