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Vettel, Hamilton would prefer current F1 teammates to partnering Alonso

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Formula 1 title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have both said they would prefer to keep their current teammates than be joined by Fernando Alonso for 2018 as the Spaniard plots his next move.

Alonso is out of contract with McLaren at the end of 2017, and has stressed that he must be in a car that is capable of winning races next season after three years languishing down the order due to continual issues with Honda’s power units.

While McLaren could ditch Honda and rekindle its previous partnership with Mercedes for next year, Alonso is known to be evaluating options elsewhere.

Should the 2005 and 2006 world champion want the best seat on offer, drives at both Mercedes and Ferrari are available for next year as neither team has confirmed its line-up yet.

Mercedes and Ferrari have won seven races combined so far this year, and are respectively considering the futures of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen, both of whom are out of contract at the end of the year.

However, the title-fighting drivers at both teams seemed uneasy about the prospect of being partnered by Alonso in 2018, saying they would prefer to work with their current teammates.

“I’m pretty happy with the teammate I have,” Hamilton said.

“So it’s not even a thought in my thought process right now.”

Vettel added: “Well, I’m not responsible to sign the drivers, but if I had a say, I’d say I prefer Kimi.”

Hamilton previously spent one year alongside Alonso at McLaren in 2007 before the Spaniard’s acrimonious exit, while Vettel fought with him for the world title in 2010 and 2012.

Should Alonso leave McLaren at the end of the year, an alternative may be to return to Renault, who he has enjoyed two previous stints with (2003-2006, 2008-2009).

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.