Alonso upbeat after Austria qualifying, P12 ‘maximum’ result

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Fernando Alonso felt upbeat about McLaren’s display during Formula 1 qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday after qualifying 12th and only narrowly missing out on a place in Q3.

Alonso entered qualifying on the back foot after being forced to give up his upgraded ‘Spec 3’ Honda power unit after a problem was discovered overnight with the MGU-H.

Alonso was able to take P12 in qualifying on Saturday despite complaining about a lack of power towards the end of Q1, and only finished six-hundredths of a second off a Q3 spot.

“I think it was good. I was happy with the laps and the performance,” Alonso told NBCSN after the session.

“The car has felt good all weekend. This was the maximum we could achieve today. We need to wait and see.

“The team are doing their best to improve the situation. We’ve got the aerodynamic updates and spec for engine better. Now we’re a touch off Q3. It’s a positive note.

“We need to improve the reliability still. I think we’re in a position to do so. Starting P12, we’re close, with a good start or good strategy, we’re close.”

Alonso will enter Sunday’s race chasing his second straight points finish after ending McLaren’s drought in Baku two weeks ago when he finished ninth.

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”