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Castroneves “shocked” after Texas penalty, but focused on Milwaukee

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Helio Castroneves’ win at Texas was slightly diminished by the post-race penalty for the underwing violation. He took time in the media center Friday morning ahead of the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Milwaukee IndyFest to explain how he felt after hearing the infraction had been issued.

“Honestly I was very shocked,” he said. “The team has done an amazing job. We will not let this outshine what we did. It was a simple mistake. It was still good to win and have the momentum.”

The grind of races – six in five weekends from Indianapolis at the end of May to Iowa next weekend – has made it very difficult for teams to keep up on the setup changes.

“People are so tired from changing the cars over from ovals to street course setup and back,” Castroneves explained. “It wasn’t a performance issue. But the downforce changed it up. Our setup was so good.”

Interestingly, the win at Texas was the first this year for Castroneves with his team boss Roger Penske calling his race. Castroneves worked for years with Penske Racing president Tim Cindric and more recently, with John Erickson. The points leader described what it meant to win one with Penske on the box.

“Roger is incredible to have; he helped a lot last race,” Castroneves said. “We should be two-for-two. I made a mistake in St. Pete. With his experience, you can’t buy that. Forget the computers. He’s been through so many circumstances. It’s unique and important to have him and with him on the box, we have a very good group this year.”

Milwaukee has been Castroneves’ “bogey track,” as he has yet to win here since his first start in 1998. This year marks the 15-year anniversary of his best result at the Mile, second in his rookie season with the late Tony Bettenhausen’s team.

Now, the points leader enters Milwaukee with a 22-point margin to Marco Andretti, and seeks that elusive first win in West Allis. He races this week in blue, black and white colors of PPG Industries on the No. 3 Chevrolet.

Ecclestone has ‘no doubts’ Monza will remain on F1 calendar

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MILAN (AP) Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident the Italian Grand Prix in Monza can find the needed cash to stay on the calendar.

Ecclestone tells the Gazzetta dello Sport, “We will find the right solution – I no longer have doubts – to provide a future for the Italian GP.”

No circuit has hosted more F1 racing than Monza, but officials at the track outside Milan have had trouble producing the estimated 25 million euros ($26.6 million) per year that Ecclestone seeks to keep the race in place after the current contract expires next year.

Ecclstone says, “Things have been cleared up and there is only one go between, (Angelo) Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Club.”

The Italian GP next year is scheduled for Sept. 4.

Alternative engine solution rejected by F1 Commission

Nico Rosberg

Plans to introduce a new alternative, cheaper engine into Formula 1 for 2017 – hypothetically a 2.2-liter V6 similar to what is seen in IndyCar – will at least temporarily go on the backburner.

The F1 Commission has rejected the so called “alternative engine solution,” where several companies submitted proposals to be that alternative supplier.

“The F1 Commission voted not to pursue this option at this stage — however, it may be reassessed after the Power Unit manufacturers have presented their proposal to the Strategy Group,” the FIA said on Wednesday.

“The parties involved have agreed on a course to address several key areas relating to Power Unit supply in Formula One,” the statement added.

Meanwhile the statement outlined four things the current manufacturers – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda – would be tasked with improving on the current 1.6-liter formula:

Those are:

  • a guarantee of supply to teams
  • the need to reduce the engines’ cost
  • simplification of the specification
  • “improved noise”

Further meetings between the manufacturers and the governing body are scheduled, including one this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.

As F1 heads into the final weekend of the season, political/paddock items such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s respective power unit futures, whether Renault’s takeover of Lotus will finally become official and what will happen with Manor’s team leadership stake – this marks Graeme Lowdon and John Booth’s final weekends although ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan has been hired as the team’s new racing director – are among the talking points.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s Super Formula test hampered by engine woes

Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne
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You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Dominant GP2 Series champion Stoffel Vandoorne had his first go in a Super Formula car at Suzuka on Wednesday, but the engine woes that have hampered his Formula 1 team’s efforts (McLaren) all season appear to be equal opportunity woes.

Vandoorne only completed a limited day of running due to technical issues; naturally, and in an unfortunate coincidence, the Super Formula cars also have Honda power.

The Belgian is now en route from Japan to Abu Dhabi, where this weekend’s final round of the GP2 season will be held alongside the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

FIA Formula E to remain at Battersea Park following vote

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Wandsworth Council’s Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted seven to four late Tuesday night, in favor of retaining the FIA Formula E event in Battersea Park.

This will see the London ePrix – the season finale for the electric open-wheel championship – continue at the site for at least the next two seasons.

The 2016 race will run July 2-3, to avoid a direct head-to-head clash with the British Grand Prix a week later in Silverstone.

Battersea Park’s race faced local opposition in recent weeks, which put the race under threat.