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Marko: Red Bull won’t race in 2016 without competitive engine

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Helmut Marko has issued the latest in a long line of quit threats from Red Bull, saying that the team will not race in Formula 1 next year unless it has a competitive engine.

Red Bull’s relationship with current power unit supplier Renault has soured over the past two years as the French marque’s shortcomings have resulted in a dramatic dip in form on-track.

Both Red Bull and Renault have agreed not to work together in 2016 despite their agreement running until the end of next season. Renault has stated that it will either revive its works team by buying out Lotus, or quit F1 altogether.

As a result, Red Bull has been left in need of an engine contract for 2016. Mercedes has already rejected working with the team for fear of increased competition, leaving Ferrari as the only realistic alternative.

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said at Monza that he would be open to helping Red Bull, but its demands for an engine equal to that of the works team, combined with Daniel Ricciardo’s performance in Singapore last weekend, may have prompted the bosses at Maranello to think twice.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Red Bull advisor Marko said that the brand could quit F1 altogether if it does not get an engine deal in place for 2016, which would also include the exit of its Toro Rosso b-team.

“There is an option to stop F1,” Marko admitted. “If we don’t have an engine that allows us to compete at the very front we will prefer to stop.

“The curtain may go down after Abu Dhabi. That is Mr. [Dietrich] Mateschitz’s opinion. He knows that it costs the same amount of money to race at the front or, like we are now doing, in the ‘premium midfield’ – and he is not willing to do that for another season.”

Marko also responded to rumors of a possible entry by Volkswagen to F1 in the future, with reports over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend claiming that a deal between the two parties was close.

“I don’t think that they have a ready engine concept in their drawers,” Marko said, agreeing to Audi motorsport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich’s comments to MotorSportsTalk last month.

“Yes, the rumours are there – and, of course, it would be great if another engine manufacturer would join. But right now that is all crystal ball reading.”

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.”