Teams confirm line-ups for Young Drivers’ Test

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Sauber, Lotus and Toro Rosso have all confirmed their driver line-ups for the Young Drivers’ Test which will take place at Silverstone next week.

The scheme has aimed to give young and talented drivers their first taste of a Formula One car, meeting some success in the past as the likes of Giedo van der Garde and Daniel Ricciardo have gone on to secure a full-time drive. However, following the tire fiasco that ensued at the British Grand Prix, the FIA has permitted the use of full-time drivers in order to get to grips with the new compounds that will be used for the rest of the season.

As a result, most teams are expected to bring at least one of their two race drivers to the test, as exemplified by Sauber, Lotus and Toro Rosso.

Sauber will be running Nico Hulkenberg during the test despite rumors surrounding his future with the team. Also, the team’s reserve driver and GP2 star Robin Frijns will get a run in the car as he continues his pursuit of a full-time seat, with Japanese youngster Kimiya Sato (no relation to Takuma) also getting some running.

Lotus will be running Kimi Raikkonen (33 years old) in the Young Drivers’ Test alongside the team’s reserve driver, Davide Valsecchi (26), and Nicolas Prost (31) who ran with Lotus backing in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Toro Rosso will be using both of their full-time drivers – Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne – during the three day test at Silverstone.

All teams will be present at the test bar Mercedes, who have been banned following the FIA tribunal’s findings last month.

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.”