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Red Bull open to Renault engine u-turn for 2016

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Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has admitted that the crisis-hit squad is “open to everything” with regards to an engine supply for 2016, including a return to current partners Renault.

A lack of performance has seen Red Bull’s relationship with Renault sour dramatically over the past two years, with blame lying at the feet of the French manufacturer for the quality of its power units.

The struggles have culminated in the two parties agreeing to cut ties at the end of the season, one year before their contract expires.

Advisor Helmut Marko has vowed that unless Red Bull has a competitive engine in 2016, it will quit the sport along with B-team Scuderia Toro Rosso, appearing to force Ferrari into complying with its wishes and supplying the team.

However, with paddock speculation suggesting that a deal with Ferrari is no longer possible, Red Bull is now faced with going back to Renault and trying to revive its relationship to ensure its teams remain on the grid in 2016.

As quoted by Associated Press, when asked on Friday if an engine deal with Renault in 2016 was possible, Horner said: “Everything is open.”

According to former F1 driver Martin Brundle, this could even encompass Horner taking over the Red Bull operation himself, potentially under the guise of Arden, his junior racing team.

Horner spent a great deal of time with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone on Friday in Sochi, prompting the latter to say that “everything’s sorted out now” for Red Bull’s engine supply in 2016.

For the time being though, Red Bull’s future remains as uncertain as ever, but answers must be due in the coming weeks to ensure that both of its teams are on the grid next season.

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

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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.”