What F1’s 2012 departures are up to now

Leave a comment

Some of the recent discussion in the Formula 1 world has been the last-minute driver shifting at Force India and Marussia, respectively. Yet while all the rookies and returnees have been named (there are five rookies and the returning Adrian Sutil), here’s a look at the 2013 prospects for those gone from the 2012 grid.

STILL RACING ELSEWHERE

Bruno Senna: The Brazilian’s competitive drive to want to win races, rather than sit sidelined, has seen a shift back to sports cars after his three-year F1 career, most recently with Williams. Senna competed in an LMP1 class ORECA prototype in 2009, and made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut. This year, he’ll be running the full FIA World Endurance Championship season in a GT class Aston Martin Vantage.

Timo Glock (right): The German’s departure from Marussia triggered the final seat shifting, first to Luiz Razia and now to Jules Bianchi. After a career spent in single-seaters since 2003, Glock moves to tin tops in the DTM, with BMW. Glock was a BMW Sauber F1 test driver at the same time as Sebastian Vettel, and lost out to Vettel in a one-off outing to replace the injured Robert Kubica at Indianapolis in 2007.

COULD STILL RACE

Kamui Kobayashi: F1’s “Mr. Excitement” for Sauber the last few years has tested a Ferrari F458 Italia for the Italian AF Corse team in the WEC, but the team has not made its driver lineup public. Countryman Kazuki Nakajima, also ex-F1, races in the WEC for the Toyota factory prototype team.

Pedro de la Rosa: It’s a long shot he’ll race in F1 once again, but the option is there as the 42-year-old has a new deal as a test driver for Ferrari. Then again, the Spaniard’s career has spanned parts of nine seasons, in three different stints (1999-2002, ’05-’06, ’10-’12), so there’s always a chance.

Narain Karthikeyan: Like his 2012 HRT teammate, Karthikeyan may turn up again and it could be in IndyCar. Karthikeyan has been linked by multiple media outlets to Dale Coyne’s vacant second seat, a seat that is notoriously late to get filled.

UNLIKELY TO RACE

Heikki Kovalainen, Vitaly Petrov, Jerome D’Ambrosio: The 2012 Caterham pair have only been linked to F1 seats and neither raised enough for them to be viable candidates. D’Ambrosio lost the lead Lotus reserve role to 2012 GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi, who has already tested after Kimi Raikkonen’s food poisoning.

Michael Schumacher: F1’s most statistically successful driver may not be in a competitive championship this year but has already made an appearance in karting. Wherever he shows up this year, the news cycle will follow.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”