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Alonso will quit F1 if calendar hit 25 races

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Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has said he will quit Formula 1 if the sport’s new owner, Liberty Media, increased the number of races per season to around 25 in the next few years.

Liberty completed its takeover of F1 in January and has confirmed that it is looking to grow the sport’s calendar beyond the 20 races currently on the schedule and push into new markets, with 21 events planned for next year.

Concerns have been raised about the pressure that a 25-race schedule would place on the paddock considering the packed year that teams already have once testing, development and media activities are factored in.

Alonso was quoted in the Spanish media as saying that he would quit F1 in the calendar did hit 25 races, and the McLaren-Honda driver confirmed that he was correctly quoted on Thursday in the FIA press conference ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.

“I started when the calendar was 16 races, plus the tests, and now we keep on increasing the races year after year and I think we are in a number that is quite demanding already,” Alonso said.

“The life you have, between the preparation, the sponsor events, the tests, the commitments you have plus 20-21 races, I think it is already enough.

“If there are 25 or 26 races or whatever, I think it’s good in one aspect but in other aspects, in how demanding becomes your life, at this point of my career, I consider that a good quality of life is more important than to do more seasons in F1.

“So if the calendar stays between 20-21, so this range that we know from the last couple of years, I’ll be happy to continue.

“If it’s increasing, like NASCAR, where they have 40 or 50 races, it’s not for me. It’s better for other drivers.”

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was also asked about calendar growth, saying: “I haven’t really given it any thought, but I understand what Fernando’s saying and tend to agree with him.”

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.