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Mercedes AMG Petronas revels in third straight title

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Regardless of which of its drivers wins the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship, Mercedes AMG Petronas has secured its third straight Constructor’s Championship – and that’s no small accomplishment.

The respective staff in Brackley and Brixworth got to see the road travel team return home from the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend, as with first and third, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton clinched the Constructor’s title.

The third straight title for Mercedes supplants its previous back-to-back benchmark of 1954 and 1955.

This season, with 15 wins, 28 podium finishes, 16 pole positions and 10 fastest laps from 17 races, the Mercedes-Benz PU106C Hybrid Power Unit has taken 50% of all available World Championship points thus far in 2016, leading 81 percent of racing laps in the process. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz F1 W07 Hybrid has taken 35 percent of points available, while also leading 81 percent of racing laps.

“Standing here with the Constructors’ trophy, with the two stars that will become three in December, is such a proud moment,” said Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport.

“It’s really a great achievement what we have done in the last three years. I met Ross Brawn a few weeks ago. We had a coffee and he told me that what makes him so proud of this organization is that we could easily have dropped the ball. But all of us, together, have kept that ball up for three years in a row now – and that’s quite an achievement.

“It’s a great honorย to work with all of these guys and girls. From Paddy and Andy, who push us all so hard intellectually, to our great drivers, who have been a massive part of this success, to the hundreds of people who work their fingers to the bone day in, day out to create the tools and the resources we need to succeed.

“I’ve said before and I believe it more all the time that we have the best driver pairing in Formula One – and the best team of people behind them all the time. All of them are pushing each other to new levels. Just when we think the car can’t go any faster, somehow we find another tenth of a second and it blows us away every time. It’s only when you put all of that together that you get to where we are today.

“I was asked the question at the weekend: “What is the silver bullet for this team? Is there one particular reason why we are where we are?” The only thing that came to my mind is that there are 1,500 reasons. It’s all of these 1,500 people here at Brackley and Brixworth who made this dream a reality and I thank each and every one of them for their part in this story.”

Mercedes executive director, technical, Paddy Lowe added, “We came away from 2014 with some phenomenal results that we never expected were possible in this modern era of Formula One. In the aftermath, we suspected it would be a one-off and it’s been truly extraordinary to see the team maintain that level of dominance across three seasons. It’s testament to the extraordinary work of everyone at Brackley and Brixworth. It’s not just about working hard, as everyone certainly has, but working smart, too. A huge congratulations to everyone involved for their contribution to this success.”

Images and highlights from the celebration are linked below. The @MercedesAMGF1 Twitter account did a great job of highlighting everything.

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.

โ€œA lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,โ€ Castroneves said. โ€œWhether itโ€™s doing Indy 500 only, whether itโ€™s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. Itโ€™s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEAD:ย Team Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

โ€œI 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 Iโ€™m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully weโ€™ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.โ€

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castronevesโ€™ 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 doesnโ€™t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

โ€œAt this point, I feel like Iโ€™m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,โ€ Castroneves, 45, said. โ€œThere is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which Iโ€™m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But Iโ€™m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me Iโ€™ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

โ€œItโ€™s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. Iโ€™m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, weโ€™ll have good news very soon.โ€

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 โ€œno hopeโ€ to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

โ€œWith the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, heโ€™s really part of Penske history,โ€ Taylor said. โ€œFor me, itโ€™s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. Iโ€™d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

โ€œObviously, weโ€™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 โ€˜The Captain,โ€™ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.โ€