De Silvestro happy with London ePrix weekend, open to more Formula E starts

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LONDON – IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro felt satisfied with her debut weekend in the FIA Formula E championship in London despite failing to score any points across the two races.

De Silvestro was given the call-up to race with Andretti Formula E two weeks ago, racing alongside former Formula 1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne.

The Swiss driver narrowly missed out on points on Saturday, finishing 11th, and was caught out by a slow-moving driver at the start of Sunday’s race that meant she could finish no higher than 12th.

“The start was good but then we kind of got stuck on the wrong side where somebody didn’t get off the grid,” de Silvestro told MotorSportsTalk after the race. “Into turn three, we really got bunched up, almost broke my wing after somebody chopped me off a little bit. That’s street racing and that’s how it is.

“For sure, I wish it was a little bit better. I struggled a little bit with the energy today, how to conserve it compared to yesterday, used it a lot in the beginning when we were fighting for position. It’s a learning curve and I think we can be happy with the weekend.”

De Silvestro felt that her proficiency behind the wheel of the Formula E car improved over the weekend at Battersea Park, and that she will be better placed if she gets another run in the series.

“I think in general, speed-wise, it was much better,” de Silvestro said, comparing Sunday to Saturday. “Even in practice we were pretty quick and just how to drive the car, I think that was pretty important.

“We learned a lot and I think that’s the biggest thing. For sure if I get another go at Formula E that’s really good.

“It’s interesting. It’s definitely different to have racing like this. The field is really competitive and that is really cool, you know. Everybody is super fast and that’s really challenging because you really have to be on your A-game.

“For sure, the energy management is something you need to learn a little bit, how to do that, but everybody who has had the whole season had a bit of a head start on that. I think, all in all, it was okay. The result is not what we wanted but we’ll always learn from it for sure.”

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.”