Rosberg: We need consistency in 2013

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After a strong winter, Nico Rosberg feels bullish about his and Mercedes’ chances heading into the new season. The biggest issue he says he and the team needs to fix is its consistency.

“Last year our biggest issue was the consistency, as we had quite good races at some places, but were not able to repeat this at other tracks,” he told the official Formula 1 website. “My impression is that this year we will see the same teams heading the grid again – the usual suspects like Red Bull and Ferrari – but I am very optimistic that we will also be up there and be able to show a much better performance than we did in 2012.”

Rosberg feels the team has closed back at least a portion of the gap to the leading runners.

“This winter has gone very well for us, and I think we are better prepared than ever,” he said. “At the end of last year we were almost one second down from the top runners, so we had to close quite a big gap. How close we really are we still have to find out, but I am very optimistic that we have made quite some progress.”

As with all teams, Mercedes will try to nail the optimum operating window with the new for 2013 Pirelli compounds.

“During the winter testing the tires had a lot of drop-off – meaning that they almost fell apart into pieces quite often – which maybe makes it more exciting for the race, but very challenging technically for the teams to set up the car in the right way.”

The biggest elephant in the room, though, for Rosberg, is the arrival of Lewis Hamilton to the team. Rosberg doesn’t expect to be watching his back, and instead expects Hamilton to push both him and the team forward.

“Sure, this pairing will also be very challenging, as Lewis is one of the best drivers out there,” he said. “We both are extremely competitive, but on the other hand we also get along privately very well. We can split the two sides of our lives quite well!”

See also: Nico Rosberg lurking in the shadows

 

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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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.”