Rosberg: Alonso would have created ‘fireworks’ with Hamilton at Mercedes

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Retired Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg says that Fernando Alonso was never an option to replace him at Mercedes, believing the Spaniard would have caused “fireworks” with teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg beat Hamilton to the F1 drivers’ championship in 2016 before sensationally announcing his immediate retirement from the sport.

The shock news offered a late twist to the driver market, with Mercedes non-executive director Niki Lauda claiming that half the grid had enquired about the seat.

McLaren driver Alonso was linked with the drive, but remained locked into the final year of his contract for 2017 and underlined his commitment to the British team. Rosberg was ultimately replaced by Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.

Speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca, Rosberg said that as a fan, he would have liked to see Alonso replace him, but stressed that it was never a realistic proposition.

Alonso and Hamilton spent one year together as teammates at McLaren in 2007, with a fierce rivalry developing that saw the pair fall out. Alonso left the team after just a single season.

“Now I’m a fan and on that side, it’s very easy to respond,” Rosberg said when asked who should have replaced him at Mercedes.

“Everyone says Alonso and I say it too, because there would have been fireworks with Hamilton, sparks flying.

“As a fan, it would be nice, but for the team part it was not possible, and they have found a great solution. Bottas is fast and has beaten [Felipe] Massa three times in a similar way as Alonso did, and can do very well.

“Of course Hamilton will be at a very, very high level and it will be difficult to beat him, but I have proved that it is possible.”

When asked if there had been any chance of Alonso making the move, Rosberg said: “No, nothing. I can’t imagine it, not for Mercedes, no.”

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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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