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Alonso re-states McLaren quit threat: ‘I want to win’

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Fernando Alonso has re-stated that he is open to leaving McLaren at the end of the 2017 Formula 1 season, saying that he wants to be in a position to win races next year.

Alonso returned to the F1 paddock on Thursday following his Indianapolis 500 adventure, with the two-time world champion’s future becoming a hot topic once again.

The Spaniard has made clear that he is keen to be in a car that can win races next year, having failed to record a single podium finish since joining McLaren for the 2015 season thanks to problems with the team’s Honda power unit.

Speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference, Alonso stressed that he would be open to staying at McLaren beyond the expiration of his contract at the end of the year if it were in a position to give him a winning car.

“We have to win. If we are winning before September or something like that when I will make a decision, I will stay,” Alonso said.

“You cannot be 100 per cent now in June about a decision for next year that I don’t even start to consider. What we all want is to win, and I think related to the answer before, what Zak [Brown] commented about yesterday, the Honda thing, is probably what you will expect Zak to say

“He wants to win. He wants to put McLaren again on a contender position for the championship. So after three years we are not in that position, so things have to change I guess for the team. The same for me. I want to win.

“I joined this project because I want to be world champion and we are not in that position. If you don’t see things changing and you are not in a competitive position, maybe you change project? That’s the only thing I can say now.

“Until I sit down with myself in September after the summer as I always said, I cannot say 100 per cent about anything now. I’m very open. The best decision hopefully I will take after the summer.”

Alonso’s Indy 500 push was part of a career goal to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport, with a shot at Le Mans in the future also on his radar, but he stressed that a third F1 world title is still his greatest aim.

“As I said many times, in F1, a third world championship is still my biggest priority,” Alonso said.

“I developed my skills to drive F1 cars for the last 16 years. The best car that I can drive is still Formula 1, but it’s another time that I jump in any car, in any categories, in any tires, with any rules, I go there and I am competitive.

“I am not afraid of the future. If I cannot succeed here and win this third world championship, I still love motor racing and I will race in any series and I know I can win in any series.”

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.