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Renault: Magnussen practice fire caused by fuel leak after breather pipe issue

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Renault has confirmed that the fire on Kevin Magnussen’s car during Malaysian Grand Prix practice was the result of a breather pipe issue that caused a fuel leak.

Magnussen was forced to abandon his car in the pit lane after a large fire broke out during the Formula 1 practice session at the Sepang International Circuit on Friday morning.

The fire resulted in a lengthy red flag period during the session while it was put out, as well as leaving the Renault team with a sizeable repair job to complete.

Magnussen was eventually able to return to the track midway through second practice later in the day.

“We expected it to be hot in Sepang but maybe not as hot as that!” Magnussen joked after the session.

“My crew were great dealing with the fire and getting the car back into action for the afternoon. From my perspective, I heard the call on the radio to jump out and I didn’t need to be told twice!

“In the afternoon we were able to get some laps so the day wasn’t a write-off. There’s a bit too much entry oversteer with the initial set-up but we know where we want to improve.”

Renault technical director Nick Chester confirmed that the fire had been caused by an issue with the fuel breather pipe on Magnussen’s car.

“We had a difficult start to the day with Kevin’s car. There was a problem with a valve on a fuel breather pipe which meant that fuel escaped from the vent, causing a fire,” Chester said.

“The crew did a great job keeping everything under control so we could address the problem. We changed fuel systems for the second session and don’t expect any further issues.”

Qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 5am ET on Saturday.

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.”