Maldonado yet to make decision on future

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Williams driver Pastor Maldonado has insisted that he is yet to make a decision about his future as rumors linking the Venezuelan driver with a move away from the team persist.

Maldonado’s relationship with Williams appears to have deteriorated in recent weeks due to the poor pace of the car, causing him to claim that he “may as well stay at home”. Further to that, a rift emerged with teammate Valtteri Bottas at the Japanese Grand Prix when Maldonado forced the Finn off the track at the third to last corner of the race, gaining a position in the process. However, the Venezuelan driver insists that he has nothing to reveal about his future yet.

“At the moment, I don’t have a decision yet,” he explained. “The decision will be down to me so I prefer to take some more time. I really hope to have the decision before the end of the season, there’s still a couple of weeks to go so we’ll see. I cannot guarantee I will leave the team or I will stay, I will do my best.

“The decision is very important. It’s my third season in my career, so it’s a very important moment professionally for me. I will want to have the best decision for my future.”

However, Maldonado did confirm that he had more than one offer on the table as well as stating that he would like backers PDVSA to follow him to his new team. Lotus team principal Eric Boullier revealed in India that Kimi Raikkonen’s seat would most probably be filled by either Maldonado or Nico Hulkenberg next season, and the money from the state-owned Venezuelan oil company could remedy some of the financial troubles at Enstone, but a recent investigation by the government could put this funding at risk.

“I have some offers at the moment and I’m analyzing that very well,” Maldonado explained. “I’m hoping to have the best decision for myself.

“Many teams are struggling with money, I cannot guarantee that I have or will have money. In my career, I have a strong sponsor in my back which is quite good. If I move, I hope for them to come with me.”

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, points

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

POINTS: Standings after Rolex 24 at Daytona l Michelin Endurance Cup standings l Daytona endurance points

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.