Williams ‘heading in right direction’ but still point-less

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Williams technical director Mike Coughlan believes the team is heading in the right direction with the development of its car after a poor start to the 2013 season.

Pastor Maldonado was taken out of the Monaco Grand Prix in a collision with Max Chilton while Valtteri Bottas finished out of the points.

“We had a difficult weekend in Monaco, but we did find a good direction for development which we will be carrying through to Canada with a number of new parts,” said Coughlan.

“There is still a lot of work to do, but we are confident that everyone in the team is pushing hard to get us back to where we need to be.”

Williams are yet to score a point so far this season. By this stage in last year’s championship they had amassed 44 points including a victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Rookie driver Bottas will be racing on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time this weekend.

“It’s similar to the last race in Monaco in some respects, being a street circuit with a number of the corners and straights very close to the walls,” said Bottas.

“The challenge is therefore to quickly find the cars limit and use as much of the circuit as you can, without taking too many risks.”

“As this is my first time driving the track, Friday morning is going to be important to get the right car setup,” he added.

“There are long straights on this circuit so good traction is needed out of the slow speed chicanes, and you also need really good straight line speed, especially in the race. If you have better straight line speed than your competitors, the racing will be much easier for you to defend and overtake so we need to find a good compromise between downforce and drag.”

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.”