Vettel able to clinch world championship in Japan

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After winning the Korean Grand Prix today, Sebastian Vettel has given himself the chance to clinch his fourth world title at next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Vettel dominated proceedings in Korea despite two safety car periods bunching the field and giving Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean a chance of catching the Red Bull. Crucially for Vettel, his success coincided with Fernando Alonso’s worst result since the Monaco Grand Prix back in May as the Ferrari driver could only finish sixth.

As a result, Vettel’s lead in the drivers’ championship has been extended to 77 points with just 125 left to play for. Therefore, for the championship to be decided at Suzuka:

  • Vettel must win the Japanese Grand Prix to stand any chance of clinching his fourth title at Suzuka.
  • Alonso must finish no higher than ninth.

This would see Vettel’s lead break the 100 point mark and give him a fourth championship, joining an exclusive club of drivers with four or more titles that currently has just three members: Alain Prost (4), Juan Manuel Fangio (5) and Michael Schumacher (7).

Should Alonso finish higher than ninth, the championship race will continue to India (the race that we have predicted Vettel will be crowned champion). However, it is becoming more and more of an inevitability that the German driver will once again be celebrating come the end of the season and he will proudly wear the number ‘1’ on his car as Formula One enters a new era in 2014 with the introduction of new engines and new regulations.

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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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.”