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Stevens: Future with Manor “looking positive”

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Will Stevens is working hard to secure a seat at Manor for the 2016 Formula 1 season, believing that his future with the British team is “looking positive”.

Stevens joined Manor at the beginning of 2015 after making his F1 debut in a one-off appearance for Caterham in Abu Dhabi last year.

Manor emerged from the old Marussia team that folded after the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, and continues to go from strength to strength as it prepares to open a new factory and engages in talks with Mercedes about an engine deal for 2016.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, Stevens expressed his belief in the Manor project, and said that talks were ongoing to secure his long-term future with the team.

“I think as a team for sure the next few years are going to be pretty exciting for them,” Stevens said. “This year was always going to be tough, using last year’s car with the old Ferrari power unit, so it’s going to be as tough as it can [be].

“But looking ahead to next year, for me personally we’re working hard in the background to try to sort out things for next year, which are looking positive, so we’ll see.

“Hopefully we’ll have some things to tell you soon.”

Stevens is bracing himself for a tough end to the season as he races on a number of new circuits, but is relishing the challenge.

“Heading into this weekend and the rest of the year, I don’t know any of the tracks apart from Abu Dhabi, so I have a lot of learning to do,” Stevens said.

“But I always like coming to new circuits, especially here. It’s always [been] a circuit I’ve wanted to drive, so looking forward to getting out there. The weather looks pretty mixed for the weekend so I’m sure we’re going to have a very eventful weekend.”

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.”