Patience is a virtue for Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne

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Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne may have lost out on the coveted second Red Bull Racing seat to Daniel Ricciardo, but it appears that despite the snub, he’s learning an important lesson in patience that could pay dividends for him in 2014.

Vergne, who is now partnering with Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat at STR, recently told British F1 broadcaster Sky Sports that he’s learned to maintain a positive outlook with the mid-field team instead of being frustrated over not always being in contention for wins and podiums.

“Probably my biggest problem when I arrived in Formula 1 was to be too impatient,” Vergne told Sky. “When you arrive from – every category since karting you are used to winning everything and to be really in a bad mood when you finish second or third on the podium. I was this kind of guy; I was always fuming when I was not winning a race.

“When you arrive in Formula 1 and you’re fighting for P10 in this team, it makes things really difficult. And it took me a really, really long time to try and understand that it was a really good result to finish P10 or P8 and have a positive spirit.”

This year, Vergne had a strong sixth-place outing in Canada but other good results such as those were in short supply – his three points-paying finishes (including a 10th in Malaysia and 8th in Monaco) all came in the first half of the season.

That wasn’t enough against Ricciardo, who used his solid qualifying efforts to pound out seven finishes in the points and eventually earned the right to run opposite four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull in 2014.

The outcome caused Vergne to do some soul searching, but he feels that he is greater for having endured that experience.

“…It was a big disappointment I had to go through,” he added to Sky. “Then I had to look in the mirror and say, ‘Why did Red Bull pick [Ricciardo] up and not me?’ I think that helped me a lot in trying to be better.”

Vergne sets out to have a stronger 2014 today, as he and Kvyat begin a three-day test session for Pirelli in Bahrain alongside Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.

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.”