Verstappen feeling no pressure in debut F1 season

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Max Verstappen claims that he has not felt any pressure during his debut Formula 1 season despite entering the sport as its youngest ever driver.

Verstappen made his debut in Australia at the age of 17, smashing the existing record for the youngest driver by almost two years.

However, the Toro Rosso driver has not let his relative youth prevent him from making an impression on F1 in his first ten races.

His fourth place finish in Hungary three weeks ago was the best result scored by a Toro Rosso driver in almost seven years, which saw him rise to 11th in the drivers’ championship ahead of the summer break.

In an interview with the official F1 website, Verstappen explained how his good form has not eased the pressure he has felt as a rookie because he did not encounter any in the first place.

“For me I don’t feel less or more pressure,” Verstappen said. “To be honest I never really felt a lot of pressure, also at the start of the year.

“The first two races you take it a bit easier with overtaking. You want to finish races to get experience.

“When you get more confidence in the car you can do braver overtakes, and I think that’s getting better and better all the time.”

Verstappen also expressed his dismay over the current technical regulations in F1, believing that the sport should boast the loudest engines and not be dwarfed by feeder series GP2.

“Normally if you speak to people and say ‘F1’, it’s noise [they mention],” Verstappen said.

“Now we have F1 but with no noise. I think it’s just part of F1 – we should make the most noise of all cars, not GP2 cars.”

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.”