Raikkonen confident Ferrari is heading in the right direction

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Kimi Raikkonen is confident that Scuderia Ferrari is heading in the right direction following a number of changes within the team over the winter and the arrival of a new regime at Maranello.

After a disastrous 2014 campaign that yielded just two podium finishes and not a single race win, a revolution took place at Ferrari as Luca di Montezemolo, Stefano Domenicali, Marco Mattiacci and Fernando Alonso were all forced out of the team.

Now, Ferrari is under new mangement with Mauricio Arrivabene joining as team principal, whilst four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has been drafted in from Red Bull.

Raikkonen endured a miserable first year back at Ferrari in 2014, finishing 12th in the final drivers’ standings, but he feels that the team learned a lot from its difficulties.

“I think we learned a lot from last year,” Raikkonen said. “Sometimes you have bad years and it goes like that, everything seems to be a bit difficult.

“I re-understood a lot of things and hopefully we can turn things around and as a team be strong and get where we should be, little by little getting stronger.

“The way the team works has changed slightly from last year, and I think it’s the right direction. We know we have quite a lot of work to do, but I enjoy being with the people and being in the team.”

Today saw Ferrari launch its new car for the 2015 season, the SF15-T, and Raikkonen hopes that it will be as quick as it is beautiful.

“It looks different than last year’s car,” Raikkonen said. “What I’ve seen from all the data, for me at least, it looks good.

“Usually when it looks good it should be a pretty good car, but obviously we have to wait until we get testing to see how it is. First impression is good.”

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.”