Caterham’s return in Abu Dhabi fails to produce a big result

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ABU DHABI – Caterham’s return for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix failed to produce a big result, but simply getting to the finish line at Yas Marina Circuit was a considerable achievement for the team at the end of a tough year.

After entering administration after the Russian Grand Prix, Caterham failed to race in the United States and Brazil, but made a sensational and surprising return in Abu Dhabi when enough fresh investment was found following a crowdfunding project.

Chief adminstrator Finbarr O’Connell was at Yas Marina all weekend in full Caterham gear, effectively taking up the role of team principal as he tries to find a new buyer for the operation.

Any hopes of moving above Marussia, which folded earlier this month, in the constructors’ championship were dashed on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, though, as Kamui Kobayashi retired from the race on lap 42.

However, F1 debutant Will Stevens did see the flag, which must be noted as a considerable achievement in light of the team’s struggles in recent months.

“We completed the objective of the day, and that was to finish the race, which is good not only for me but also for the team – we can be pleased,” Stevens said. “I struggled quite a bit during my first stint on the option tire, trying to keep it up to temperature at the start during the formation lap, so I had a lot of graining on the front.

“But the middle stint wasn’t too bad and I was able to get into more of a rhythm. Towards the end I was feeling good in the car and it feels really good to have completed my first Formula 1 race!

“I want to thank all the fans once again for giving this team another chance to race, this is where we belong.”

Caterham now enters the winter looking for further investment and a possible buyer to keep the team afloat. 2014 was meant to be the big breakthrough year at Leafield, but it will not be remembered fondly due to the financial problems that blighted its best intentions.

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.”