Ecclestone: Drivers wanted radio ban

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F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has claimed that drivers were in favor of the planned restrictions on radio communications, which are set to come into force for this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, confirmed after the Italian Grand Prix that it would no longer allow radio calls designed to enhance a driver’s performance behind the wheel, stressing the importance of article 20.1 of the regulations which states that drivers must race “alone and unaided”.

Although some have praised the move for putting more onus on the drivers and making them less reliant on their pit wall, many have questioned whether the timing is right following the biggest change in the technical regulations in decades for 2014.

Speaking in Singapore ahead of this weekend’s race, Williams’ Felipe Massa was quick to criticize the decision.

“It’s something they could have done more professionally,” the Brazilian said. “They always believe that now it’s too complicated and too easy for us, but they’ve never driven the car.

“I’m against it, completely against it.”

At an event on Thursday in Singapore though, Ecclestone claimed that, contrary to Massa’s comments, the drivers were in fact supportive of the move.

“I think none of the drivers want it,” he said. “They are all happy that it has gone.

“They drive the cars, they should know what is wrong or right, they don’t need someone on the pit wall telling them what to do.”

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton said that the move is “almost like putting more balls in the air for us to catch, and we’re already catching quite a lot.” However, he went on to say that he liked the individual focus the ruling encourages.

However, according to a report by German journalist Michael Schmidt, the FIA may relax the clampdown for this weekend’s race following pressure from the teams. The sport’s governing body will inform the teams of its decision tomorrow morning.

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.”