Vettel to meet with FIA president over engine comments

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Defending Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel is set to meet with FIA president Jean Todt to discuss his comments about the new sound of the sport.

Following the downsize from V8 to turbocharged V6 engines in Formula 1, the sound of the sport has changed dramatically. Without their recognizable screeching noise, many have criticised the new cars and the formula being used, whilst others have praised it. Four-time champion Vettel is firmly in the ‘against’ camp, and did not mince his words when interviewed in Malaysia last week.

However, Todt has not taken kindly to the language that Vettel used when talking about the new engines, and is now set to meet with the German driver to discuss the comments that were made according to a report by Autosport.

1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve was a very outspoken character throughout his F1 career, and was threatened with severe sanctions after making comments that appeared to bring the sport into disrepute. Although Todt is unlikely to be as heavy-handed with Vettel as predecessor Max Mosley was with Villeneuve, he will seek to clear the air and ensure that he refrains from using such language in the future.

Interestingly, British newspaper The Sunday Times reported last week that Todt could threaten to sanction Red Bull over these comments as an incentive to withdraw its appeal against Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion from the Australian Grand Prix.

When asked about meeting with Todt, Vettel insisted that it was merely routine. “It’s fairly normal to have a meeting after a couple of races,” he explained in Bahrain. “Mr. Todt is coming here, so it makes sense to use the opportunity to talk about many things.”

Although Vettel is not alone in disliking the new sound, it is best for such a global icon and ambassador of Formula 1 to consider the way in which he airs his opinion, and refrain from using profanities when speaking on the record.

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.”