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Rossi permitted to race at Suzuka despite missing 107% cut

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Alexander Rossi has been given dispensation to start tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix despite failing to post a time within the 107% cut-off required to qualify for a Formula 1 race.

In order to prevent underprepared drivers from racing, the FIA revived the 107% rule back in 2011 that requires anyone wishing to race to lap within 107% of the quickest time in Q1.

The rule has only been used sparingly since its inception (HRT in 2011 and 2012), with the majority of those falling outside the 107% time being allowed to race after displaying enough pace throughout the earlier stages of the weekend.

In Rossi’s case, this has proven to be true once again as the American’s practice pace was deemed to be sufficient by the stewards at Suzuka.

“The Stewards have received a request from Manor Marussia F1 Team to allow car 53 [Rossi] to start the race despite failing to set a qualifying time within 107% of the fastest time in Q1,” a statement from the stewards read.

“In accordance with Article 36.1 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, the Stewards grant permission for car 53 Alexander Rossi to start the race, as the driver has set satisfactory times in practice at this event.”

Rossi was unable to post a time within the 107% cut off after having both of his flying laps ruined by yellow flag periods, limiting him to a best time of 1:47.114 – over six seconds slower than that of teammate Will Stevens.

“To have a yellow flag on both my push laps is just the worst luck,” Rossi said. “I’ve never had a situation like that, so I was pretty shocked and disappointed by what happened today.

“Obviously I’ve been well within 107% during the weekend and I know the procedures, but even so, it’s not a great feeling.

“There hasn’t been much dry running so far, so we haven’t had the best preparation for a dry race, but I’m enjoying the track and I know there’s a lot more to come.”

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.”