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Ecclestone doubts Nürburgring will host German GP in 2017


Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has doubts over the planned return of the Nürburgring to the sport’s calendar in 2017.

The German Grand Prix dropped off the calendar for 2015 after officials at the Nürburgring failed to strike a deal with Ecclestone, reducing the schedule down to 19 races.

Although the German Grand Prix is set to return in 2016 at Hockenheim as part of the agreement between the tracks to rotate hosting duties, Ecclestone doubts the race will be on the calendar once again in 2017 due to the financial uncertainty facing the Nürburgring.

“I don’t believe that this will happen,” Ecclestone told Motorsport-Magazin. “We can say for sure, that there will be no race.”

Ecclestone laments the Nürburgring’s decision not to sell him the track around two years ago after he was outbid, believing its future would have been more secure in his hands.

“It’s a pity, because when the Nürburgring was for sale, I agreed to buy it,” Ecclestone said. “They came back to me and told me that they have a better offer, maybe one or two million higher than my offer.

“I said: ‘I made only one offer. If somebody wants to pay more, sell it to him.’ They’ve sold it to a person and this person resold it.

“The stupidity was, because of two million, they’ve lost somebody who had guaranteed that there would have been races for 100 years and who would have tried to improve the things.

“They ran away for a few dollars more.”

The Nürburgring last hosted the German Grand Prix in 2013, and stated last month that it was in discussions with Ecclestone to ensure it returned to the F1 calendar in 2017 as planned.

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.”