Formula 1 gossip: Alonso, McLaren, Vettel, Massa, Hamilton, Palmer, Ferrari

Fernando Alonso
McLaren broke down on track twice on the last day of testing in Barcelona

Sunday, 12 March

McLaren's Fernando Alonso is "hopeful" the team will be ready to perform at the first race of the season in Australia on 26 March despite struggling in testing. (F1i.com)

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel says the team "is in a better shape" than last season after impressing during testing. (Autosport)

Felipe Massa said he had to be convinced by Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams that the team was heading in the right direction before reversing his decision to retire and come back to Formula 1. (Motorsport)

Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is unhappy when critics mock his singing. "I don't know why they're hating on me. And why do they keep saying I'm a rapper? I'm a singer. I love R'n'B," he is quoted as saying. (Daily Mail)

Kevin Magnussen
Haas' Kevin Magnussen posts a picture on Twitter of him doing some weight exercises. Preparing for Australia #nevergiveuponthedream, he writes

Renault's Jolyon Palmer says this season's car is "awesome to drive" with a "lot of further potential to come". (The Checkered Flag)

Mario Isola, head of car racing at tyre manufacturer Pirelli, has been encouraged by the performance of the new cars with their wider tyres and says this season will "produce the fastest cars that the sport has ever seen". (Fox Sports Asia)

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has admitted their reliability is a "weak point". (PlanetF1.com)

Saturday, 11 March

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says he will use Barcelona's remarkable Champions League comeback against Paris St-Germain as inspiration for the 2017 season. (ESPN)

Ferrari's struggles in 2016 masked a "massive step forward" for the team last season, according to driver Sebastian Vettel. (Motorsport)

Honda chief Yusuke Hasegawa says he is "a little bit scared" of the performance gap to rival manufacturers after McLaren-Honda's struggles in pre-season testing. (Racer)

Force India have told driver Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon to lose weight before the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks. (Auto Motor und Sport, via F1i.com)

Nico Hulkenberg
Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg waves goodbye to pre-season testing in Barcelona

Friday, 10 March

After his troubles during last week's testing, Williams rookie Lance Stroll says he is more confident this week behind the wheel of the FW40. (PlanetF1)

Former Benetton and Renault team boss Flavio Briatore believes Bernie Ecclestone was not treated well by F1's new owner Liberty Media. (ESPN)

McLaren executive director Zak Brown says the team are prepared for a tough start to the season after they struggled on the penultimate day of testing in Barcelona. (Reuters)

Renault says that testing has "magnified" an issue with its engine they were aware of before arriving in Barcelona last week. (Autosport)

Toro Rosso team
The Toro Rosso team hope that practice makes perfect when it comes to the start of the season

Thursday, 9 March

Mercedes non executive chairman Niki Lauda has been impressed with Ferrari in pre-season testing and claims the legendary Italian outfit, who last won the constructors' championship in 2008, "looks the fastest."(F1i.com)

Drivers will face a much greater challenge in making clean starts at races this year, with new limits on clutch control, plus the movement and location of the paddles.(Autosport)

Williams celebrate the birthday of their former driver, Pastor Maldonado, nicknamed 'Crashtor' by his critics, who incurred 39 penalties in his colourful F1 career, one every 2.4 races.

Williams
No picture of a cake though, or even a cake emoji

Wednesday, 8 March

Daniel Ricciardo
Ricciardo came closest to Massa's time in testing on Tuesday, and the Australian driver said his team "were not holding two seconds in our pocket"

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo hopes Williams have already peaked with Felipe Massa's quickest run in testing in Barcelona on Tuesday. (Autosport)

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says the team's relationship with Honda is at 'maximum strain' over technical issues with the MCL32. (Crash.net)

Mercedes have been testing an array of more aerodynamic parts for the W08 as they looks to improve performance. (Motorsport.com)

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas says Ferrari and Red Bull should not be underestimated this season. (F1i.com)

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis wouldn't go anywhere without his bulldog Roscoe now would he?

Tuesday, 7 March

Red Bull boss Christian Horner wants teams to discuss ditching the 'shark fins' from F1 cars before the start of the new season. (Autosport)

Formula 1's racing boss Ross Brawn says there are still problems to be resolved, but overall the cars are "better and faster". (Crash.net)

Red Bull's motorsport consultant Helmut Marko believes the team will be Mercedes' biggest challenger in 2017. (Formula1.com)

Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost is still open to rebranding the team's Renault engine.(F1i.com)

Romain Grosjean's snack at lunchtime
As testing continued into a second week in Barcelona, Haas driver Romain Grosjean clearly needed a pick-me-up

Monday, 6 March

Formula 1's TV audience in Britain fell by 5.1 million last year - possibly explained by Lewis Hamilton failing to win a fourth championship and terrestrial coverage switching from the BBC to Channel 4. (Independent)

Renault driver Jolyon Palmer believes the French team have made a significant improvement in the ride quality of their 2017 car.(Autosport)

McLaren-Honda racing director Eric Boullier believes Ferrari's team may be able to compete with Mercedes this season. (Crash.net)

Ferrari has made "amazing" progress with its 2017 Formula 1 engine, says Haas boss Gunther Steiner, whose team also use the Ferrari engine. (Motorsport.com)

Carlos Sainz
Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz spent a "lazy Sunday" in the gym

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