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Thursday's Formula 1 news roundup: Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso

Here, Sports Mole rounds up the latest Formula 1 news on Thursday, October 1.

Sports Mole rounds up all of the latest news regarding Formula 1 on Thursday, October 1.

Thursday morning's Formula 1 news roundup:

Verstappen has 'door open' to Mercedes move

Max Verstappen pictured on August 29, 2020© Reuters

Max Verstappen will be "keeping the door open" for a shock potential switch to Mercedes.

That is the view of former F1 driver JJ Lehto, off the back of wild rumours that Lewis Hamilton might in fact become Verstappen's teammate at Red Bull.

"I wondered what Eddie had been drinking," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, after former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan suggested the pair could team up.

A slightly more feasible theory is that it could actually be Dutchman Verstappen making his way to Mercedes, thanks perhaps to an exit clause in his Red Bull contract.

"Obviously the contract between the driver and the team is always going to be confidential," Horner said when asked about that.

Mercedes has already signed up Valtteri Bottas for 2021, but Hamilton is so far holding out on a deal amid rumours Toto Wolff's role at the dominant team could change.

That could be an opening for Verstappen.

"For sure," Finn Lehto told Iltalehti newspaper. "A driver of that calibre will be keeping the door open in every direction."

Verstappen is in a comfortable position at Red Bull, but Lehto says the fact that Mercedes is consistently faster will mean it is always an option in the newly 23-year-old's mind.

"With Red Bull, Max is able to win, albeit occasionally," Lehto said. "There is nothing to suggest that the balance of power will change dramatically in the coming years.

"Red Bull is second best and Mercedes is number 1," he added.

A Verstappen-Hamilton pairing appears unlikely, but Lehto admits it would be a fan-pleasing move.

"It would be fireworks on the track and behind the scenes," he said. "It would be two rock-hard drivers who wouldn't give an inch."

Vasseur not confirming Raikkonen contract rumours

Kimi Raikkonen pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Frederic Vasseur has declined to say whether Kimi Raikkonen has already signed a contract to remain at Alfa Romeo in 2021.

It is now increasingly expected that 40-year-old Raikkonen will stay at the Swiss team to be an experienced teammate for likely F1 debutant Mick Schumacher.

Rumours at Sochi indicated Raikkonen has even signed a deal.

"Have I read the rumours that Kimi has already signed? Sure!" Alfa Romeo boss Vasseur told Russia's Championat.

"But two weeks ago they wrote about Hulkenberg, three weeks ago it was about Perez, last week it was about Vettel. Journalists can write whatever they want, but it will not affect my decision in any way," he added.

However, Vasseur also admitted that Ferrari will have a say in the identity of the occupant of the other Alfa Romeo seat for 2021.

"No deadlines," he said about the seat currently occupied by Raikkonen.

"We'll be talking to Kimi over the next few weeks to see what might be the next step we take together.

"As for the second place, we will have discussions with Ferrari and make a decision in the next months. There are a lot of good drivers available, but first of all I have to discuss everything with the guys who are now in the team," added Vasseur.

"Despite the difficult first half of the season, they did their job well with teamwork, which is very important for me."

More news from Formula 1:

Hamilton must avoid further penalties - Wolff
Mercedes' two drivers must try to avoid penalties in the forthcoming races, according to team boss Toto Wolff. Read more.

Renault doing 'incredible job' in 2020 - Alonso
Fernando Alonso says Renault has "everything they need" to succeed in the future. Read more.

Alonso says Schumacher 'one step ahead' of Hamilton
Michael Schumacher remains "one step ahead" of Lewis Hamilton in terms of F1 greatness. Read more.

Domenicali knows F1 benefits from Schumacher debut
Mick Schumacher has the support of the Formula 1 organisation as he moves closer to his expected 2021 debut, according to a well-known F1 figure. Read more.

Mercedes at risk of 'complacency' - Horner
"Complacency" may be creeping in at dominant Mercedes, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. Read more.

Hamilton vows to be 'squeaky clean' after penalties
Lewis Hamilton has vowed to stay "squeaky-clean" for the rest of his 2020 world championship campaign. Read more.

Ralf Schumacher 'can't imagine' nephew not in F1 in 2021
Ralf Schumacher "can't imagine" that his nephew will not be on the Formula 1 grid next year. Read more.

Perez knew Racing Point axe was coming
Sergio Perez has admitted he knew he would be ousted by Racing Point - even before the team told him. Read more.

Horner wants Red Bull and Honda to stick together
It is "inevitable" that Mercedes' dominance will end eventually, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. Read more.

Honda in talks about 2021 Alpha Tauri debut for Tsunoda
Honda is in talks with Dr Helmut Marko about the potential 2021 Formula 1 debut of Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda. Read more.

Horner not worried that Ferrari bosses run F1
Christian Horner says he is not worried that so many former Ferrari chiefs are now running Formula 1. Read more.

FIA admits F1 will not be 'covid-free' in 2021
The FIA's operations director does not think Formula 1 will be covid-free in 2021. Read more.

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Fernando Alonso pictured in January 2020
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