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Valtteri Bottas: No reason why Williams can’t win championships again

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Recently-appointed Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas sees no reason why former team Williams cannot become a championship-winning outfit again.

Bottas made his F1 debut with Williams in 2013 and spent four seasons with the British team before joining Mercedes earlier this month ahead of the 2017 campaign.

Bottas led Williams to third place in the constructors’ championship in 2014 and 2015, and spoke warmly of his time with team in a video on Twitter.

“I was with Williams in total seven years, four years as a race driver. Everything has gone quickly,” Bottas said.

“I’m one of the [drivers with the] most races done for Williams. It’s been an amazing, amazing learning curve for me and also for the team.

“Every year the team has gone more and more professional, developing, even though results sometimes don’t show it.

“Williams has won so many championships that there’s no reason why it couldn’t win again. For this team it is only a matter of time.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t get together out first win or the title but I wish all the best to Williams and lot of success. I hope you will get the championship rather sooner than later.

“I hope I’ve given a lot to Williams – at least I tried everything I could, always wanted to be a team player, the goal was always to bring maximum points to the team.”

Williams last won a world championship back in 1997 when Jacques Villeneuve won the drivers’ title, with the team also taking the constructors’ trophy.

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.”