© Getty Images

Vettel: No reason for Ferrari to panic despite British GP struggles

Leave a comment

Sebastian Vettel sees no reason to panic despite enduring a difficult British Grand Prix that saw him finish almost a lap down in ninth place.

Vettel started the race 11th by virtue of a five-place grid penalty following a gearbox change, but said on Saturday that he thought the pace of the Ferrari SF16-H car would allow him to battle up the order.

However, Vettel never ran any higher ninth in the race, spinning early on the slick tires and then receiving a five-second time penalty for forcing Felipe Massa off-track while battling for position.

With Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen crossing the line fifth, Ferrari left Silverstone just nine points clear of Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.

Vettel sees no reason to panic after the result, though, and instead wants to learn from the weekend.

“Today it was a tough day, but we trust our team and trust our car, so there is no reason to panic and to turn the world upside down,” Vettel said.

“The call to come into the pits was absolutely right, but then the spin didn’t help, and all my advantage was gone again.

“The penalty in the end didn’t make a difference, it was not on purpose that I was trying to squeeze Felipe. Actually I was going out myself, and I was surprised how little grip there was, going side by side with him. In the end it was a racing incident.

“Now we need to understand where we lost something. We have a lot of things to learn from a weekend like this. Clearly today we weren’t as competitive as in other races, but at least we recovered some points.

“And this was the only race of the year where we weren’t able to beat the Red Bulls in terms of race pace. Things may look different in two weeks’ time, but that shouldn’t be an excuse.

“We need to go forward and understand why we made a step back this time around.”

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene echoed Vettel’s thoughts, believing many of Ferrari’s issues to be Silverstone-specific.

“We knew, coming here, that it would not be an easy track for us – but if you want to be on top, there must be no ‘difficult’ ones,” Arrivabene said.

“This is a circuit which, power unit aside, puts a premium on other factors which we were lacking here. It’s not the first time it happens, but perhaps it was much more apparent this weekend.

“In these conditions, we opted for a very aggressive strategy, pitting in for intermediates after the initial safety car stint. Unfortunately, this choice did not pay off because of the Virtual Safety Car which came out immediately afterwards.

“But to be honest, the best we could have done was to gain one position in the race. Our drivers did a solid job, despite being hampered and somewhat frustrated by the technical issues we are aware of.

“Now we must turn the page, look ahead to Hungary and capitalize on the hard lesson we learned here.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

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.”