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Vettel confident Ferrari can turn season around

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Sebastian Vettel is confident that Ferrari can turn things around after failing to pose a serious challenge to Mercedes in the opening six races of the 2016 Formula 1 season.

After winning three races with Ferrari last year, Vettel was expected to lead the Italian marque’s charge against Mercedes in 2016.

An encouraging pre-season programme and opening race in Australia gave Ferrari hope of a bid for both championships, but its form has since faded.

With Red Bull on the rise and having already won a race in 2016, Ferrari risks becoming the third-fastest team on the grid.

Previewing this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel spoke of the new parts and updates that Ferrari has brought to Montreal that he hopes can offer it a step up in pace.

“I’ve some expectations, then you need to wait and see what’s happening on the track,” Vettel said.

“It also depends on what other people are doing, what other people are bringing. I think it should be a bit warmer as the weekend goes on but I’m not sure, we’ll see.

“We know that Canada is a tricky track because of its surface. Usually it’s difficult to get the tires to work equally: the softer compound tires are quite tricky, it’s difficult to make them last in the race, so with cooler temperature usually you struggle a bit more overall so we’ll see. It could be interesting.

“We have some new parts, hope they will help us make a step forward. I know that currently we’re not in the position we want to be in, but you never know: we will try at our best, fighting very hard, giving everything to win.

“I believe we can turn it around. I believe in the team.”

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.”