Alonso takes “small joy” from first point of 2015 season

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Fernando Alonso took “small joy” from his first point of the 2015 Formula 1 season at the British Grand Prix on Sunday as he finished in tenth place.

After qualifying down in 17th place, Alonso benefitted from a race of attrition to move onto the fringes of the top ten before gaining more positions during a late rain shower at Silverstone.

The Spaniard crossed the line ahead of Marcus Ericsson for tenth place to pick up his first point of the season and take McLaren’s tally for the year to five.

“It’s not the best of results, but tenth position helps to motivate everyone,” Alonso said after the race. “The whole team is incredibly focused – they’ve been working day and night to improve the car – and we all know this is a long-term project.

“There are no magic solutions, but to get a decent result, and to put some points on the table, is always important.”

Taking to Twitter after the race, Alonso wrote that he took some “small joy” from the result, but made clear that the work is far from finished for McLaren.

“Although it’s well worth mentioning that Fernando got off the mark in the 2015 world championship standings by finishing tenth here today, that isn’t an accomplishment we’re about to extol,” McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said.

“Having said that, it was heartening to see that his car ran reliably all afternoon, even though its race pace was demonstrably insufficient.

“He never gave up, though, and his dogged efforts fully deserved the world championship point they earned him. Irresolute he is not.”

It wasn’t all good news for McLaren on Sunday at Silverstone, though, as Jenson Button was forced to retire on the first lap of the race after being hit by Alonso in a chain-reaction that appeared to be caused by Daniel Ricciardo.

A stewards’ enquiry after the race deemed no single driver to be responsible, though, meaning that no penalty will be carried over to Hungary in three weeks’ time.

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.”