Ferrari president unconcerned by driver line-up

Leave a comment

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has said that he is not concerned about the seemingly volatile line-up of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen in 2014, believing that both drivers will put the common team goal ahead of any personal grudges they may wish to settle.

Traditionally, the team has worked with an implied ‘number one’ driver who is supported by a ‘number two’. Both Alonso and Raikkonen have enjoyed number one status within the team over the past seven years with Felipe Massa serving as their understudies. However, Raikkonen will join the team in 2014 after a five-year absence, and many have questioned this move following Alonso’s dislike for a too rivalrous teammate, as proven by his one-year stint at McLaren when he and Lewis Hamilton locked horns. In di Montezemolo’s eyes though, there is no such problem.

“Whoever has the honour and responsibility of driving for Ferrari must think of the team first and foremost and not of himself,” he explained to RAI. “None of our drivers could ever hurt the other one.”

di Montezemolo went on to explain that the decision to re-hire Raikkonen was made simple by the lingering affection for the Finn following his first stint at Maranello.

“We have taken Raikkonen back for his experience, for what he has done over the past two years and because he is much loved inside and outside the team,” he explained. “I was very pleased to see the enthusiasm that greeted the news of his return, again both internally and externally. I am sure they will help one another.”

Of course, time will tell whether or not the two drivers will work together amicably, but paddock rumors continue to circulate suggesting that Alonso could be tempted by a move to McLaren in 2015 when Honda returns to the sport as an engine supplier. The Spaniard has been quick to deny this in the past, but the team will need to provide him with a better car in 2014 if he is to challenge for his first world championship since 2006 next season.

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

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.”