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Round-up: Ricciardo pledges to bushfire crisis, Alonso hits trouble in Dakar

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Hamilton, Rossi complete F1/ Moto GP ride swap (1:42)

World champions Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi tried out each other's sports on a track in Valencia. (1:42)

A look at the stories making headlines during Formula One's offseason period.

The ongoing bushfires in Australia have rallied international support and triggered a huge fundraising effort. A state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales and a state of disaster is in place in Victoria.

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo is among a number of prominent Australian athletes to donate to a variety of charities. Ricciardo will also auction off the race suit he will wear at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 14 to raise money for the cause.

Elsewhere in racing, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso's Dakar Rally appearance hit an early setback on Monday. The Spaniard's Toyota Hulux car hit a rock during the second stage of the 7,200km race and was forced to stop.

Although Alonso and co-driver Marc Coma attempted to fix the car themselves, the wait for a repair crew has left the pair over two hours down on the leaders. It has left Alonso facing an uphill battle to claim a meaningful result.

After the incident, Alonso posted to Instagram: "Good day in terms of pace (third in the firsts splits) and in terms of navigation, that we were very comfortable. Bad day in terms of result, as we lost more than 2 hours repairing a hit in the front axle. Tomorrow more action! A lot of rally ahead of us."

The rally continues until Jan.17, when it concludes after 12 stages of competition.

Max Verstappen says Red Bull has built the foundations required to launch a championship challenge.

In an article on Motorsport.com, Verstappen is quoted as saying: "I think so. I think we are in the right direction. There's no question about that.

"Now, it's just about how much development we can push through for next year. I more or less know, I just hope it's going to be enough.

"Next year, there are no real changes in the regulations anyway, so you can just build on what you have now. And with a second year working with Honda, I think that should help.

"We massively improved the performance of the engine. I think we know where we have to improve on, we've already improved on the car."