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Lotus confident Renault takeover will go ahead

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Lotus CEO Matthew Carter remains confident that Renault’s proposed takeover of the British team will go ahead despite the deal still being yet to be confirmed.

Renault signed a letter of intent ahead of a buy-out of Lotus back in September, saving the team from administration and ensuring that it remained on the grid.

However, since this announcement was made, little more has been said by either Lotus or Renault regarding the deal, sparking speculation that the deal may be on the rocks.

In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Carter remained confident that the deal will go ahead, but did concede that the team is still planning for life without Renault just in case talks break down.

“Renault issued a letter of intent, so behind the scenes the Renault and Lotus senior management are working flat out to make sure that we get the deal done,” Carter said.

“Things are progressing, but these things take time. I am confident that the deal is going to happen, but as I said, it needs time to get it across.

“We know that in business anything can happen and as long as there are no signatures on the documents the deal is not concluded – but confidence is very high.

“We have two options for an engine next year: either we go with Mercedes or Renault. We are progressing along that route. We’ve got two designs for next year’s car and we are pushing forward with both options.”

The time taken for Lotus and Renault to even provisionally agree a deal prompted lead driver Romain Grosjean to sign for Haas F1 Team for 2016, ending a long-running association with the Enstone-based operation.

However, Carter believes that Grosjean is in need of a new challenge, and is instead focusing on the new driver pairing of Jolyon Palmer and Pastor Maldonado for 2016.

“Romain is a great driver and he has been with us for a long time,” Carter said. “He is very professional and he always delivers for the team and I don’t know the ins and outs of his deal with Haas, but as far as I can see he is looking for a new challenge.

“He goes with our blessing – and hopefully we can move on with Jolyon and Pastor next year the way that we want to.”

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.”