Stevens feeling settled after first half-season in F1

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Will Stevens feels that he has settled into life in Formula 1 quickly following his first half-season in the sport with Manor.

The British driver made his F1 debut with Caterham in Abu Dhabi at the end of 2014, but joined Manor in a full-time role following the team’s revival from the old Marussia F1 Team.

With limited resources, Manor has been unable to challenge any of the other nine teams on the F1 grid, leaving Stevens to fight only with teammate Roberto Merhi at the back.

However, he has still managed to put in some impressive displays, recording a best result of 13th at the British Grand Prix in July.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Stevens explained how he believes he has still made an impact during his first half-season in the sport despite racing at the back of the grid.

“We’re racing at the back, but the people inside F1 can still see that you’re doing a good job and achieving the maximum you can in the car that you have,” Stevens said.

“So far I think people are seeing that, or at least that’s what I’ve heard. It doesn’t matter where I am on the grid, this year was all about me proving I’m ready to be in F1 and I’m ready to stay in F1.

“I’m not here just to do a year or a few races – I want to earn a career in F1. So far this year I couldn’t have asked for anymore. I’ve settled into the environment really quickly and I feel comfortable straight away being here.

“I’m enjoying every minute. I’ve been welcomed into the team and felt at home straight away – I think that’s why the results so far have been strong.”

When asked about his plans for 2016, Stevens said that he is simply focusing on his own performances out on track instead of his future with Manor.

“I’ve got lots of people working on my behalf to sort all those things out,” Stevens said.

“I’m not different to any other driver. I concentrate on the driving side and there’s other people trying to sort my future out.

“My job is to focus on what’s happening now and to achieve the best job I can. If I do that it only helps the discussions that everybody is having.”

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.”