Marussia team principal thankful for rest day

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Marussia team principal John Booth is pleased with the start that his drivers have made to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, but he has admitted that the rest day on Friday does give the team extra time to review the data collected and prepare for the sessions on Saturday and Sunday.

Unlike any other race, Monaco traditionally holds the first two free practice sessions on Thursday, allowing the teams to take Friday off whilst the support series run on the track. For the fans, it may cause some confusion, but Booth revealed that this gives the teams more time to understand the data collected in practice.

“Both drivers have had a clean start to their Monaco debut in an F1 car,” Booth said in a team statement. “The programme we set out was based around giving them plenty of laps for circuit familiarisation, along with some more detailed tyre evaluations in FP2.

“We’re reasonably happy with the performance and pace of the car but there is definitely work to do to improve their race pace on the tires.”

Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton finished towards the back of the grid in yesterday’s sessions, failing to beat closest-rivals Caterham in FP1. Regardless, Booth is pleased with the start that the team has made to the Monaco GP weekend, with Bianchi finishing ahead of both Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde in the second session.

“Fortunately we have the added advantage of an extra day to go through the information we have gathered today and at least we can be happy with the initial pace of the car.”

Marussia will be hoping to take advantage of the high rate of attrition that usually occurs during the Monaco Grand Prix and build upon their season-best result of 13th at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

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.”