Canadian GP Paddock Notebook – Thursday

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In a new feature on MotorSportsTalk, we’ll be putting together a paddock notebook for the upcoming races on the Formula 1 calendar, bringing you an all-in-one article with the big stories of the day, some of the more subtle bits of news, and just the general paddock atmosphere.

This week, we’re in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The race is a favourite among the drivers and the fans, welcoming a large number of Americans. They will get the chance to cheer on a home favorite this weekend as American driver Alexander Rossi takes part in the first free practice session for Caterham. We’ll be chatting with Alexander later today, so stay tuned for our interview with him.

NEWS FROM THE PADDOCK

  • Here is our complete preview of the 2014 Canadian GP, complete with TV times, stats, and the big storylines that are set to define this weekend’s race.
  • Our writing team has once again made its predictions for the race, and unsurprisingly, we have all picked a Mercedes driver to win the race. Are we Team Lewis or Team Nico, though?
  • Esteban Gutierrez is refusing to get down about his Monaco mishap. The Mexican spun out while running in the points, but still feels that Sauber has momentum going forwards.
  • Kevin Magnussen seemed to be in good spirits today, and spoke about his experiences as a rookie in Formula 1. He was quick to reject any suggestions that he is holding McLaren back due to his inexperience.
  • His fellow Scandanavian, Kimi Raikkonen, underlined the importance of Ferrari taking its time to plot a return to the front of the field. He was also unwilling to say that he would win a race in 2014.
  • Jenson Button may be one of the oldest drivers on the grid, but he has no plans to retire just yet. The Briton believes that he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level at McLaren.

We also got the chance to sit down with Caterham’s American reserve driver Alexander Rossi for a one-on-one interview. He spoke in depth about his season so far, his future, F1 in the USA and his chances with Haas Formula.

The Canadian Grand Prix is one of the most popular races on the calendar for a reason, with the city being so vibrant and embracing F1 with open arms. The fans were certainly out in force, coming into the pit lane for driver autograph sessions and to soak up the atmosphere at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The only downside was the drizzly weather, so hopefully things will brighten up by tomorrow for practice.

Of course, the action will really get going tomorrow with practice. You can watch FP1 live via live stream, with FP2 being broadcast live on NBCSN and Live Extra.

For more information on NBCs broadcasting of the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix, click here.

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

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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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.”