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Ecclestone: Ferrari, Mercedes refusal to help Red Bull “ridiculous”

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Bernie Ecclestone has criticized Ferrari and Mercedes for refusing to supply Red Bull with an engine for the 2016 Formula 1 season, calling their fear of increased competition “completely ridiculous”.

Red Bull is currently without an engine supplier for next year after choosing to cut ties with Renault after a season filled with quit threats and complaints about the quality of its power unit.

However, with both Mercedes and Ferrari unwilling to supply one of their fiercest rivals with a same-spec power unit, Red Bull has been left to backtrack over its comments regarding Renault and even open negotiations with Honda, exploring every possible avenue to remain on the grid.

In an exclusive interview with the official Formula 1 website, Ecclestone said that he believes Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz is still undecided about whether or not to continue pouring millions of dollars into racing in the sport.

“Mr. Mateschitz is fortunate enough to be able to pull the plug if he wanted to. He doesn’t have to ask anybody,” Ecclestone said.

“He is used to winning and doesn’t want to be put in a position where he could be unfairly beaten. Unfairly! When he won the world championships he was competing on the same terms as anybody else. Probably he has not made up his mind yet.

“The reasons why Ferrari or Mercedes don’t want to give Red Bull the same engine as they will race in 2016 is because they are afraid that they might get beaten – which is completely ridiculous.

“And should it really happen, then they should rush back to the drawing board. This is a sport that has competition it its DNA, not asset protection.”

Ecclestone also said that he would like to see the power unit design in F1 be simplified and made cheaper to allow more manufacturers enter the sport.

“I would prefer an engine that is a bit simpler,” he said. “What we have now is a superb piece of engineering – but it is extremely expensive, so every manufacturer coming in can’t afford not to get it right.

“And it is hard to get it right. As I said, I wish it would be simpler, but the people who are now successful won’t let it go – because now they are secure.”

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.”