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Indonesian sports minister pushing to get Haryanto F1 seat

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Indonesian sports minister Imam Nahrawi continued his push to secure a Formula 1 seat for Rio Haryanto next year by lobbying local businessmen and other government figures to get behind the GP2 racer.

Haryanto has spent the last four years racing in GP2, taking three wins en route to P4 in the drivers’ championship with Campos in 2015.

The Indonesian racer enjoyed a successful test with Manor in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of the month, and is known to be pushing to take one of the two seats at the team for 2016.

Earlier this month, a leaked letter from Nahrawi confirmed that the Indonesian government was working to secure Haryanto a seat at Manor, pledging to raise €15 million ($16.3 million) for 2016.

As quoted by the Jakarta Post on Saturday, Nahrawi called on those at the recent Indonesian Motorsports Indonesia (IMI) meeting to get behind Haryanto and give him a chance to make his F1 debut in 2016.

“I need to find a perfect formula for Rio’s financial support to meet Manor team’s requirements,” Nahrawi said.

“We’ve got businessmen like Aksa Mahmud and Adiguna Sutowo [at the IMI meeting]. I really hope they can help Rio.”

The report claims that Nahrawi has secured one-third of the funding thanks to sponsorship from state-owned oil company Pertamina, but needs to raise the remaining €10 million in the next three weeks to gain the seat with Manor.

Should Haryanto accrue the backing required, it is still unclear whether he would be allowed to race in F1 following the new FIA super license rules that are set to come into force from 2016.

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.”