Raikkonen likely to quit F1 at end of Ferrari contract

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Kimi Raikkonen has revealed that he will probably retire from Formula 1 upon the expiration of his contract with Ferrari at the end of the 2015 season.

The Finn enjoyed his finest hour in F1 with the Italian marque, winning the 2007 world championship. However, relations soon soured, and he left both the team and the sport at the end of 2009.

He made a phenomenal comeback with Lotus in 2012, but after the team began to struggle financially and failed to pay Raikkonen, he opted to return to Ferrari for 2014. The move was intended to allow both the driver and the team to relive their glory days and get back to the front of the field, but he has scored just 19 points in the first eight races this year, with a best finish of seventh.

Many questions have been asked about his motivation, and he confirmed to the media in England that he will probably leave F1 to pursue other racing interests once his Ferrari deal ends.

“Until my contract expires and then I will probably stop,” Raikkonen said when asked about quitting the sport. “This is what I think is going to happen.”

Raikkonen enjoyed a spell of rallying during his break from F1, and also took part in a one-off NASCAR race. For him, solely racing in F1 is too narrow minded.

“I tried many things and I think there is no harm in it,” he said. “It doesn’t take anything from me doing F1. I think it can only help. You always learn if you try different things.”

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.”