FE: Marco Andretti out of Miami Formula E race

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Marco Andretti was due to race in the next round of the FIA Formula E Championship at Miami on March 14, but will have to bow out due to a schedule conflict. He made his debut at Buenos Aires last month.

IndyCar testing should be fairly intense in mid-March, from when teams receive their new aero kits to implement ahead of the March 29 season opener at St. Petersburg. Spring training is set for Barber Motorsports Park on March 16-17.

As for an Andretti FE replacement, there are two likely options before a third option would present itself.

Matthew Brabham, as Andretti FE’s reserve driver, has already raced twice this year for the team and would make sense to fill in. The young American with an Australian family lineage does not yet have his program set for 2015, although he told MotorSportsTalk he is still working towards continuing with Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights program.

The other conceivable option is Scott Speed, who has tested for Andretti’s FE program before and, as written here yesterday, made a pit stop to the Andretti Autosport shop in Indianapolis for an IndyCar seat fitting.

The “out of left field” option – as Jean-Eric Vergne was in December – is option three. Vergne has raced the last two events for Andretti FE, including scoring the pole on his debut in Uruguay.

Andretti began the season with Franck Montagny and Charles Pic. Montagny’s positive test results for a cocaine derivative were announced on New Year’s Day, while Pic has moved on to explore other opportunities.

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.”