F1: Lewis Hamilton keeps laying groundwork for career in music


Music is one of Lewis Hamilton’s hobbies but as time has gone by, the two-time Formula One World Champion appears to have been taking it more seriously.

His main focus remains racing for Mercedes, of course. But in the not-too-distant past, he’s discussed being in the recording studio for days leading up to a race weekend and then returning once his at-track duties were complete – all in the hopes of completing what would be his first album.

Now comes word that Hamilton, whose girlfriend is ex-Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger, has aligned with a London-based PR firm that features some of the world’s most popular musicians. Purple PR boasts top-tier talents such as Adele, Beyonce, Calvin Harris, Prince, and Ice Cube.

Prior to joining Purple, Hamilton had left a group run by Simon Fuller, the British entrepreneur known primarily as the mastermind behind the worldwide Idol franchise (which includes American Idol).

Meanwhile, Hamilton remains without a new contract with Mercedes after winning the 2014 world title and helping the team claim the constructor’s championship as well. His current, three-year pact expires at the end of this season.

But while team boss Toto Wolff said earlier this month that Fernando Alonso (and after him, Valtteri Bottas) would be targeted for 2016 should Hamilton leave, Hamilton himself indicated this past week that he wasn’t feeling any pressure on the subject.

“We said last year we’re relaxed; the team has acknowledged they want to continue with me and vice-versa,” said Hamilton in an interview with Britain’s Sky Sports.

“There’s no stress – I’m comfortable and confident and trust they’re not speaking to anyone else and they know that’s the case with me too. As soon as I left the last race, I’ve been back at the factory for a couple of days, but I haven’t sat down with the team.”

His teammate and 2014 title rival Nico Rosberg signed a multi-year extension to stay with the Silver Arrows last summer.

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.”