Hulkenberg penalized for Massa collision in Singapore

2 Comments

Nico Hulkenberg has been handed a three-place grid drop for next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix after causing a collision with Williams’ Felipe Massa in Singapore on Sunday.

As Massa was exiting the pit lane, Hulkenberg came into the first complex of corners at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, and failed to realize that the Brazilian was on the apex of turn three.

Hulkenberg bumped into the side of Massa, causing their wheels to touch and sending the Force India driver into the wall where his race immediately ended.

The stewards acted swiftly to sanction Hulkenberg, handing him a grid drop and adding two penalty points to his FIA super licence.

“The driver of car 27 [Hulkenberg] had an open line of vision to car 19 [Massa] leaving the pits,” the stewards wrote. “Car 19 should have been left racing room.”

Speaking after the race, Hulkenberg was far from impressed by the stewards’ call, claiming that he did not get a chance to explain his side of the story.

“The accident with Felipe was very unlucky and I don’t understand why I’ve been given a penalty before there has even been the chance to discuss the incident in the stewards’ room,” Hulkenberg said.

“I saw Felipe coming out of the pit exit as I went through turn one, but I was ahead in turn three, I was on the racing line and I took the corner as usual.

“Then I felt the contact with my left rear and my race was over. In my view it was my corner and I’m surprised Felipe backed out of it much too late, locking up just before he hit me.”

Massa blamed Hulkenberg for the incident, claiming that he left him nowhere to go. The Brazilian was ultimately forced to retire from the race due to a gearbox issue.

“It was a very unlucky race for me,” Massa said. “My problems started with the collision I had with Hulkenberg after my first stop. I was braking for the corner and he turned his car in on mine, leaving me with nowhere to go, so we hit.

“This caused a slow puncture on my front-right tire and the extra pitstop put me back many positions. I then had a gearbox problem. I was changing gears from second to third and was getting neutral.

“It seemed to resolve itself but it happened again and I had to retire the car. It was one of those races where things just weren’t going my way. We need to concentrate on recovering some of our lost points at the next race.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

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.”