Magnussen stars on debut to qualify fourth

2 Comments

Kevin Magnussen has immediately thrust himself into the Formula 1 spotlight with a sparkling performance during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix to secure fourth place on the grid.

The Dane, who is just the third rookie to make his debut for McLaren after Alain Prost and Lewis Hamilton, managed to keep his cool in the wet conditions and produce a fine lap in Q3 to qualify fourth. Having finished in second place in Q1 and easily made it through Q2, Magnussen showed experience far beyond his 21 years, although he did admit to making a mistake on his final lap.

“Those were difficult conditions, especially as I’ve never driven this track in the wet,” he explained. “It was quite tricky to get the lines and the braking points right. It was much trickier than anything I’ve done before!

“But I don’t think I could have asked for any more today. I made a mistake and went off on my last lap, so I might have been able to go quicker, but I’m still happy. I’m proud of myself, but also proud of the whole team for doing such a massively good job of preparing me over the winter.”

However, Magnussen refused to get ahead of himself, knowing that the true challenge will come tomorrow in his maiden grand prix outing.

“The race is tomorrow and so are the points, so we need a good Sunday,” the Dane said. “I’ll try to enjoy tomorrow and do the best I can.”

Magnussen soundly outqualified veteran teammate Jenson Button, who failed to make it through to Q3 and will start the race from 10th place tomorrow (taking into account Valtteri Bottas’ grid drop). However, the reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion must now finish the job and look to pick up a good haul of points on his Formula 1 debut tomorrow.

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.”