Fernando Alonso indicated a return to Formula One in 2021 is unlikely because of a delay in the introduction of new regulations.

F1 was due to bring in new cars in 2021 to make the sport more competitive and limit the influence of the finances of the respective teams.

However, the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen 10 races of the 2020 season either postponed or cancelled, forced the changes to be pushed back to 2022.

Speaking during an Instagram live session hosted by the 24 Hours of Le Mans account, two-time world champion Alonso said: "It's something that I've been answering since 2018 when I did my last race in Abu Dhabi.

"I wanted to go out a little bit of Formula One because after 18 years of that routine and that pressure on your shoulders, I needed to breathe a little bit out of that environment.

"I always said, look, in 2021, there are new rules in Formula One, I may come [back] because maybe there is more interest and the cars are more balanced, and maybe I'm hungry for traveling again or putting myself in contention.

"It's true that Formula One now delayed the rules to 2022. That's bad news in a way for the sport, because I think they need to balance the cars and they need these new rules as soon as possible.

"But it's a choice that is understandable because with the current situation it was not possible to develop the cars for next year.

"In my personal case, I know more or less what I'm doing next year, and hopefully many of you will know very soon. I cannot say more."

Alonso also dismissed talk of him competing in the IndyCar series for the full season. 

The Spaniard raced in the Indy 500 in 2017, when his hopes were doomed by an engine problem, and he failed to qualify in 2019.

A winner of the World Endurance Championship in 2018-19, Alonso would be the first man to win titles in F1, WEC and IndyCar were he to complete an entire season and emerge as champion.

"I don't think so, that was something that I considered maybe two years ago," Alonso said of that prospect. "When I stopped Formula One I was thinking about what to do next, and obviously winning the WEC championship and the Formula One championship, what if one day I'm IndyCar champion? Not only the 500, trying to win the championship in general.

"That would be unique. That would not be the second man in history, that would be the first man in history, and that was always very appealing.

"But, I don't think so, because the commitment to do that will be too high at this part of my life. I think a few years ago, maybe that was a possibility, but right now, to do 16 or 17 races, to know all the circuits — because they race at Laguna Seca, they race at Mid Ohio, they race at Long Beach — there are circuits that they [IndyCar drivers] know very well for many years, and I don't know. I will require a level of preparation or commitment that maybe at this time in life I'm not happy to take.

"The Indy 500 is already a nice commitment and a long preparation for one race, so I cannot imagine for the whole championship. That would be full dedication. And also there are five ovals, that you need to respect. The Indy 500 is already a risk in a way because the speeds are very high and you take that risk because the reward is very high, but to do the other ovals as well is always a concern for myself."

Arsene Wenger began his long goodbye at Arsenal on this day in 2018, while April 20 is a day fondly remembered by Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan and racing driver Danica Patrick.

The end of a near 22-year love affair, which admittedly soured a little by the end, was announced by Wenger who revealed the 2017-18 season would be his last with the Gunners.

NBA great Jordan posted an astounding new playoff benchmark, while Patrick earned her own place in history.

Here's a reflective look at April 20 of yesteryears.

 

2018 – This is Gunner be tough. Wenger prepares for Arsenal goodbye

The news that Wenger was to leave Arsenal after almost 22 years had a certain inevitability about it.

'Le Professeur' oversaw one of the most successful periods in the club's history, winning three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups – including the double in 1998 and 2002, while he was the man in charge of Arsenal's 'Invincibles', who produced an unbeaten top-flight campaign in 2003-04.

But there was an increasingly growing "Wenger Out" brigade and, with Arsenal set to miss out on Champions League football, there was little surprise when he announced 2017-18 would be his last in charge.

"I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. To all the Arsenal lovers, take care of the values of the club," Wenger said.

2008 – Patrick makes history in Japan

Three years previously, Patrick had made history by becoming the first female to ever lead the historic Indy500 race.

And on April 20, 2008, she etched her name further into the record books by winning the Indy Japan 300 in Montegi, Japan.

It was the first time a female driver had won a race in the IndyCar series.

Patrick was 5.8 seconds clear of pole-sitter Helio Castroneves, with leader Scott Dixon having pitted with five laps to go and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan doing likewise a lap later.

"It's a long time coming. Finally. It was a fuel-strategy race, but my team called it perfectly for me. I knew I was on the same strategy as Helio and when I passed him for the lead, I couldn't believe it. This is fabulous," said Patrick.

1986 – Jordan's playoff heroics the best ever game?

The history books show a double-overtime 135-131 defeat for the Chicago Bulls and a 3-0 first-round defeat to the Boston Celtics.

But in one of the NBA's greatest arenas – the Boston Garden – Jordan, regarded by many as the greatest of all time, put on the performance of a lifetime.

Jordan scored 63 points – a record in a playoff game – to take it to the champions, and saw Larry Bird utter the famous "God disguised as Michael Jordan" assessment.

The Celtics went on to win the Championship that year, but Jordan would become a six-time NBA champion, winning the Finals MVP in each of those successful series with the Bulls.

The Indianapolis 500 has been postponed until August 23 due to the coronavirus crisis.

May 24 was due to be the date for the most prestigious motor race in the United States, but it has been put back three months.

Fernando Alonso will be among the drivers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the two-time Formula One world champion makes another attempt to complete the triple crown - winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans and Indy 500.

Track owner Roger Penske said: "The Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favourite time of year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500.

"However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing.

"We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I’m confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world's greatest race."

There will be practice sessions at the track on August 12 and 13, with Fast Friday to come the following day. Indy 500 qualification will be staged on August 15-16.

Coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on the sporting calendar. 

Further measures to prevent the spread of the virus were taken on Monday, affecting a plethora of sports and leagues.

More events were subject to postponements, while the sight of games taking place in empty arenas will be a common one in the coming weeks.

Here we look at the sporting decisions announced on Monday as the world attempts to tackle the outbreak.

 

Italy - All sporting activity in Italy was suspended until April 3 by the country's Olympic Committee, in a decision pending government ratification. In a statement, the committee conceded it does not have jurisdiction over international competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League.

France - Ligue 1 games are now required to be played behind closed doors or with a limit of 1,000 fans until April 15. Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League last-16 second-leg clash with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday will be contested behind closed doors at the Parc des Princes.

France - The Six Nations finale between France and Ireland, due to take place at the Stade de France on Saturday, is postponed. England's game with Italy was already off, meaning it is unclear when the winner of the competition will be determined. Scotland's game with Wales in Cardiff is on, and Gregor Townsend's men can move into first place with a win. England and France are level on 13 points, with Ireland on nine having seen two games postponed.

United States - The ATP's Indian Wells Masters and WTA's Indian Wells Open were both cancelled following a confirmed case of the virus in Riverside County, California.

United States - According to ESPN, the NBA is to hold a conference call with the 30 team owners and governors to discuss the next steps for how it handles the spread of the virus in the USA, where there have been 213 confirmed cases.

Asia - FIFA confirmed the AFC qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which were scheduled to take place in the international windows of March 23-31 and June 1-9, have been postponed.

Switzerland - Basel announced on Monday that the second leg of their Europa League tie with Eintracht Frankfurt, set to be contested on March 19, cannot be played at their St Jakob Park home due to coronavirus-related restrictions. Switzerland's top-flight, the Super League, is suspended until March 23.

Japan - The postponement of the start of the Nippon Professional Baseball regular season was confirmed at a media conference on Monday.

United States - IndyCar is not expecting any impact on its 2020 schedule as a result of the outbreak.

France - Rugby League side Catalans Dragons are waiting for an official decision from the Perpignan prefecture or government regarding Saturday's Super League game with Leeds Rhinos after the country's ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

Fernando Alonso will race for Arrow McLaren SP at the Indianapolis 500 as the two-time former Formula One world champion aims to compete motorsport's triple crown.

Alonso, who won the F1 championship with Renault in 2005 and 2006, made his debut appearance at the Indy 500 in 2017, then returned for a second attempt at glory last year.

The Spaniard finished 24th in his first experience while racing for McLaren Honda Andretti, before failing to qualify in 2019 on behalf of McLaren Racing.

However, Alonso has now joined McLaren's new team as he looks to achieve the famous hat-trick of motorsport's most famous races, having already won the Le Mans 24 Hours and also the Monaco Grand Prix in F1.

He will fill McLaren's third car in the race, which takes place in May, with Patricio O'Ward and Oliver Askew in the first two seats.

"It's one of the most iconic races in the motorsport calendar and I'm extremely happy to be in the month of May again," Alonso told Sky Sports and NBC Sports in a joint interview.

"Last year we had some issues and it was not the race we were expecting, but this year we go again with the aim to do well and to win the race.

"Once you experience the Indy 500 it will remain always in your heart. The fans are amazing, the show is unbelievable and the race itself you know why it's one of the greatest in the calendar."

McLaren confirmed in August last year that they would be returning to full-time IndyCar competition the first time since 1979.

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