GP2: Sirotkin, Negrao confirm their plans for 2015

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Sergey Sirotkin and Andre Negrao have become the latest two drivers to confirm their participation in this year’s GP2 Series.

Sirotkin, 19, had been a part of Sauber’s junior programme in 2013 and 2014, with the team preparing him for a full F1 debut in a program that included a run-out in practice at last year’s Russian Grand Prix.

In 2014, the Russian youngster finished fifth in Formula Renault 3.5, winning his home race in Moscow. However, he has now decided to switch over to GP2 for 2015 with Rapax.

“I am delighted to have reached an agreement with Team Rapax for the upcoming GP2 Series season,” Sirotkin said. “First of all, I want to thank the team’s owners and executives for the push they made in order to have me on board. The 2015 season will be a crucial one for my career.

“I went through some lengthy considerations about what could be the best possible choice for my future. In post-season testing at Abu Dhabi I enjoyed an excellent chemistry with the GP2 car, as well as with the Rapax engineers and all the team.

“They are extremely focused and aggressive, and that’s something I really like. I cannot wait to be back on-track for testing in a few weeks. The 2015 series will be demanding, but also very interesting.”

Brazil’s Andre Negrao will remain with Arden International for the coming season, racing alongside Norman Nato.

“Last year we achieved our target of scoring points in the second half of the season,” Negrao said, having picked up 31 points in the final eight races of the year. “GP2 is an extremely competitive and professional Series, I had a very good feeling with the whole Arden team so we decided to continue to grow together for the 2015 season.

“I think that staying with the same group of extraordinary professionals – in particular with such a good relationship as the one we have – will pay off with good results. I really look forward to seeing the team in a few weeks and jump back into my car in Abu Dhabi.”

15 of the 26 seats have now been confirmed for the forthcoming season, which is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in years. McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne (ART) will head into the new year as the favorite for the title, but he is likely to face stiff opposition from Pierre Gasly (DAMS), Alex Lynn (DAMS) and Raffaele Marciello (Trident).

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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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.”