Bottas confident Williams is yet to reach its peak

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Valtteri Bottas is confident that Williams is yet to reach its peak despite producing an incredible turnaround to return to the fight at the front in F1 this year.

Last year, the team scored just five points in the whole of the season, leaving it ninth in the constructors’ come the end of the year.

In 2014 though, things have been very different, with Bottas and teammate Felipe Massa racking up 135 points in total so far, putting Williams in third place. With its strongest circuits still to come, it could get better still for the British team.

Although he is yet to confirm where he will be driving in 2015, Bottas sees no reason to leave Williams despite speculation linking him with a drive at McLaren.

“It’s still too early to say anything,” Bottas explained in Belgium. “Personally, I don’t see a reason to look around at this moment. It’s too early to say, it’s better to wait for confirmation. Then we’ll speak when we have something to say.

“I really think this team is not at its peak yet. I really think the direction is right, and I’m confident that this team can still be better than what we have seen this year. I’m really confident here and wouldn’t mind continuing.”

Bottas also revealed that he has noticed an increase in recognition in his native Finland, after going back home for the summer break.

“You can see the difference. Everyone in Finland, they follow Formula 1 quite closely, and you see the difference. A lot of support, I have to say. Everything has been really positive.”

Bottas will be hoping to secure his fourth podium finish of the season this weekend in Belgium, and could even be in the mix for a race win if Williams makes up some ground on the Mercedes cars at the head of the field.

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.”