Malaysian Grand Prix means a lot for Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat

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The Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix can’t get here soon enough for Daniil Kyvat.

Barring anything unfortunate, the race will be Kyvat’s actual first start with Red Bull Racing. The Russian failed to start the opener in Melbourne on March 15 after his No. 26 machine experienced a lack of oil pressure, causing his gearbox to overheat and preventing it from selecting a gear.

“It’s good Malaysia is so soon. After Australia, I wanted to leave the weekend behind me as soon as possible and start focusing on Malaysia,” Kyvat said in a release. “We have good potential which we will be looking to use and hope to extract. It’s an interesting, challenging track. There are some high speed sections, and those high speed sections are the most interesting ones. For me, Malaysia means a lot.”

Kyvat finished 10th in the 2014 edition of the Maylaysia Grand Prix, while driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso. While that was his first F1 start at the track, the 20-year-old Kyvat has a history with the 15-turn course.

“I won my first single-seater race ever there about five years ago I think, and last year, another points scoring race for me, my second race and second points so it (has) very good, good memories, but it’s a tough race and challenging race for a driver because it’s known for being so hot,” Kyvat said of the 56-lap race. Sunday’s forecast is for a high of 93 F/23 C with an 80 percent chance of precipitation.

“This is why we train quite hard and get our arses kicked during the winter season by our trainers!” Kyvat said. “Sepang is one of those races where you see where you are in terms of your physical preparation.”

Kyvatt’s Red Bull teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, compares the racing conditions in Sepang to being in a sauna you can’t get out of.

“Hydration is really, really important and keeps you cooler,” said Ricciardo, who has only finished one of his three Malaysian Grand Prix starts, finishing 12th in 2012. “The more hydrated you are, the more your body dispatches the heat.”

Red Bull Racing has won in Sepang three times, all with Sebastian Vettel, in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

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.”