Formula 1 gossip: Alonso, McLaren, Button, Ferrari, Haas, Pirelli

Saturday, 13 January

Fernando Alonso during free practice at Daytona
Alonso during free practice at Daytona

McLaren's Fernando Alonso will make his sports car race debut later this month at Daytona but he does not believe more F1 drivers will follow his lead. (Crash.net)

Former F1 world champion Jenson Button will race for Team Kunimitsu in the Japanese Super GT programme with Honda. (F1i.com)

Ferrari's threat to quit F1 is a negotiating tactic prior to the next round of talks about the future direction of the sport, according to Formula E chief Alejandro Agag. (ESPN)

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner says the American team would like to sign a driver from the United States "but at the moment there is nobody ready for F1 in the United States in my opinion". (Autosport)

Pirelli chief Mario Isola believes average lap times will fall in 2018 because of the combination of developed cars and softer tyre compounds. (Planet F1)

Friday, 12 January

Ron Dennis
Ron Dennis was McLaren team boss from 1981 to 2009

Robert Kubica is to be offered a reserve driver role by Williams for this season, including some outings in Friday practice. An announcement that Russian Sergey Sirotkin will get the final race seat alongside Lance Stroll is expected in the next few days. L'Equipe (in French)

Former McLaren chief Ron Dennis is hosting a farewell/thank you party on Friday evening at the Royal Albert Hall. Invitees: everyone he ever worked with at McLaren, plus other senior figures. The entertainment? A bespoke Cirque du Soleil performance. Paying for it? Ron Dennis. (BBC Sport's Andrew Benson)

Mercedes will continue to support Pascal Wehrlein, even though there is no place for the ousted Sauber driver on the 2018 grid. (grandprix.com)

McLaren executive director Zak Brown said his team are keen for the start of the F1 season at the Australian Grand Prix in March to show they have addressed a prior "power deficit" in their engines. (www.f1i.com)

Carlos Sainz Sr took his first stage victory of the 2018 Dakar Rally to edge himself closer to Peugeot Sport team-mate Stephane Peterhansel on Thursday, but the Frenchman still holds a considerable advantage heading into Friday's rest day. (thecheckeredflag.co.uk)

India's first Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan has confirmed that he will race in the Japanese Super Formula for a fifth consecutive season.(dnaindia.com)

Pirelli says fans will not be confused by its expanded range of tyre compounds for the 2018 F1 season following complaints it is too complicated. (www.f1fanatic.co.uk)

Brendon Hartley gets married
And it appears Formula 1 has had a settling effect on Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley, who tweeted this picture of himself with his new wife Sarah

Thursday, 11 January

F1 chief Ross Brawn wants the cars to resemble the kind of futuristic design found in video games from the 2021 season. Brawn believes that will allow more scope for Halo to be integrated and says having "great-looking" cars is key to the future. (Sky Sports)

McLaren Executive director Zak Brown says there are 'a lot of little reasons' their partnership with Honda didn't work out and has compared the Japanese car maker's struggles in the sport to those of Jaguar in the early 2000s. (Autosport)

Mercedes have received planning permission to expand their Brackley base. The site was first constructed in 1999 by BAR, before passing through to Honda Racing, Brawn GP and then onto Mercedes. (Planet F1)

F1 marketing chief Murray Barnett says they are looking to reform the role of 'grid girls' rather than axing them. (grandprix.com via marketing week)

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag does not believe Ferrari will quit F1 at this stage and says their threat to do so is a tactical move in order to get a better negotiating position with the sport's owners. (ESPN)

The 2017 McLaren team
McLaren finished ninth in the 2017 constructors' championship, with only 30 points

Wednesday, 10 January

Executive director Zak Brown says the new McLaren will have the "biggest change" of all the teams on the 2018 Formula 1 grid. (Autosport)

Formula E chief Alejandro Agag believes the all-electric series could be the only viable form of motorsport left by 2040, overtaking F1 in the process. (ESPN)

Daniel Ricciardo admits a keenly contested battle with Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen would be good, but hopes that whatever happens in 2018, he remains friends with the 20-year-old Dutchman.(PlanetF1)

Fernando Alonso is damaging his chances of winning a third F1 world title by trying to take on the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the same year, according to former F1 driver Mark Webber. (Daily Express)

Williams F1 chief technical officer Paddy Lowe has admitted his disappointment that the team finished 104 points behind fourth-placed Force India in 2017 and does not believe it represents the true balance of power.(F1i.com)

Meanwhile Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas finds some more suitable winter transport for his native Finland.

Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas in a winter wonderland

Tuesday, 9 January

Lando Norris in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship
Lando Norris won the Formula 3 European Championship with nine victories in 2017

British teenager Lando Norris says winning this year's Formula 2 championship would prove he is ready to make the step up to F1 in 2019. (Fox Sports)

Norris' compatriot Jolyon Palmer deserves a "world-class championship" drive, says Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul. Palmer was dropped by Renault for the United States GP in favour of Carlos Sainz. (Planet F1)

Fernando Alonso completed his first full preparations for this month's Daytona 24 Hours with three days of testing, but his team finished outside the top 10. (Sky Sports)

Kimi Raikkonen's race engineer David Greenwood has left Ferrari after three seasons working with the Finn and will return to the UK, where it is understood he will take up a role on Manor's World Endurance Championship project. (Autosport)

Formula 1 plans to revamp the merchandise experience for fans next year, adopting the 'souvenir tent' concept. (Motorsport.com)

A handy fact to know, courtesy of the official Formula 1 Twitter account...

F1

Monday, 8 January

Adrian Newey
Newey has been a respected figure in the sport for many years

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly says his Formula 1 breakthrough should encourage young drivers by showing it is not "all about money". (Autosport)

Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey has detailed how Ferrari tried to hire him on three separate occasions. (Sky Sports)

Mercedes had to do more analysis than ever before to understand their "diva" 2017 F1 car, and chief designer John Owen admits they were confused after early season defeats by Ferrari. (Autosport)

The Mercedes team's engine for the 2018 season will be "pretty much all new", according to engine boss Andy Cowell. (Motorsport)

Williams driver Lance Stroll has brushed aside persistent criticism from fellow Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, saying his countryman's attitude is "always negative". (Auto Hebdo via F1i.com)

British former F1 driver Derek Warwick says the late Ayrton Senna - a three-time world champion - felt 'threatened' by his talent. The former British Racing Drivers' Club president also says that although Britain has a lot of promising young drivers, they are "strangled by financial restraints". (Jersey Evening Post)

We are a week into the new year and the Toro Rosso team are counting down the days...

Toro Rosso on Instagram

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