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Horner: F1 radio instructions now ‘fair game’ after lenient Rosberg penalty

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Red Bull Racing team principal has questioned the viability of Formula 1’s rules restricting radio instructions following Nico Rosberg’s penalty in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

In the closing stages of the race at Silverstone, Rosberg reported an issue with his gearbox that Mercedes helped him to fix by issuing instructions over its team radio.

The messages were deemed to have breached article 27.1 of the F1 sporting regulations that state drivers must drive “alone and unaided” in the car.

Rosberg was hit with a 10-second penalty after the race, dropping him to third behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Despite seeing his driver gain from the penalty, Horner believes that the lenient action taken may open the floodgates for similar messages through the rest of the season.

“If it’s just a five-second penalty or a reprimand, it’s fair game for the rest of the year,” Horner told reporters, including Reuters, before the stewards confirmed Rosberg’s 10-second penalty.

“There will be loads of messages that will take into account whether it’s worth five seconds or not.

“There’s loads of information that we would like to give the drivers but we can’t.

“The question going forward is ‘are these rules right for Formula 1?'”

The rules restricting radio communications were introduced at the beginning of the 2016 season with the intention of placing a greater onus on drivers in races.

Despite calling the rule “rubbish”, Horner believes it was evident that Mercedes broke the regulations through its messages.

“The rules are the rules, and on two counts it sounds like instructions were given that breached that protocol,” Horner said.

“One was the switch change that was made and the second was the instruction how to drive the car with the seventh gear issue that they had.”

Mercedes has stated its intention to appeal the penalty given by the stewards, and has until Thursday afternoon to ratify the appeal before it is taken any further.

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

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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.”