Rossi remembers CART as “even better than F1” before split

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Alexander Rossi counts himself among the motor racing fans who regrets the demise of the CART series.

“For me in the late nineties growing up I watched Champ Car [CART] and for me that was the best championship that there was, for me it was even better than F1,” he told F1 Fanatic in an interview.

“But when they split it ruined it and they lost a lot of fans and people got confused and then it just kind of slid.”

CART attracted F1 champions such as Emerson Fittipaldi and Nigel Mansell to compete alongside top American drivers Mario Andretti, Bobby Rahal and others in the late eighties and early nineties.

But in 1996 Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George set up the rival Indy Racing League, taking with it the prestigious Indianapolis 500. This began a split in the series which lasted until 2008 when Champ Car collapsed and the remnants were taken over by the IRL to form today’s IndyCar series.

“I haven’t followed it that much since it split,” Rossi admitted.

“I think IndyCar in its own right is a very competitive championship and very difficult to win,” he added. ”

“But I think that it’s lost its edge and I think that, if anything, that’s almost a good thing for Formula One because people are kind of looking for something else in terms of open-wheel racing because like I say it’s not that popular.”

Rossi said he was unlikely to pursue a future in IndyCar himself as he is prioritizing his efforts to reach Formula One and has doubts over the safety of racing on ovals.

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.”