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Alonso leaves Japan with a penalty but no decision on 2018

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Japanese Grand prix
© XPB 

Fernando Alonso says that he's aiming to use the two weeks before the United States Grand Prix to finally resolve his Formula 1 future.

"Hopefully now we have a couple of weeks before Austin," he said after the Japanese race. "It would be nice to make the final decision."

Reigning world champion Nico Rosberg, working this week for Sky Sports F1, said he expected the deal to happen.

"I spoke to him and I think he is quite excited about the possibility of continuing with McLaren," he said. "And getting an engine that has some proper horsepower, with all due respect.

Rosberg added that Alonso was looking forward to "having a chance to maybe end his career on a bit of a higher note, and really get an exciting season."

Fellow former F1 racer and current Sky Sports F1 pundit Johnny Herbert went even further with his prediction. "It's a done deal. It's just hanging on and dragging it out a bit. We're going to see him in a McLaren for sure."

Alonso will certainly be pleased to reach the end of the season and wave goodbye to McLaren's engine partner Honda.

Another 35 place grid penalty for engine component changes meant Alonso started at the back of the grid in Suzuka. After battling away all afternoon he narrowly missed picking off Williams' Felipe Massa in the final laps to finish in the points.

"I think we deserved the points," he said. "It was a huge effort from everybody on the team after the penalty with the engine change.

"We started 20th, we finished 11th. It was a good recovery, with only one stop, starting with a set of scrubbed tyres.

"It was unlucky situations," he explained. "I think when Felipe was struggling along with the tyres the virtual safety car came in. He breathed a little bit in those laps.

"Then in the last two laps the leaders came through us, and unfortunately he breathed again and took the final point. But we'll try again in Austin."

After the race, Alonso was penalised by the race stewards for ignoring blue flags when the race leaders came up to lap him during his battle with Massa.

The stewards reviewed video evidence and found that Alonso had been shown blue flags in turns 14 and 15 on lap 51, but didn't allow Lewis Hamilton through for almost another lap.

The officials concluded that Alonso had not adhered to the requirement to "allow the following car through at the earliest opportunity." However they accepted Alonso's defence that there were limited places to allow another car to pass safely at Suzuka.

"The stewards compared this incident to other similar incidents and considered while a breach, this was less severe than others. When he did move over he gave plenty of room, and subsequently to Verstappen."

Alonso was duly handed a reprimand, and given two penalty points on his superlicence.

"It depends on the distance they are and what they are doing," Alonso explained before the decision was published. "I think Hamilton was leading and the Red Bull was second.

"I don't know if I waited two corners more or less but they finished in that order so there was not a big implication on the race final outcome.

"We'll see however they decide - we'll accept it and try better next time."

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