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Rosberg: Mercedes should consider Vettel for 2018 F1 seat

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Nico Rosberg believes that Mercedes should consider signing Sebastian Vettel to its Formula 1 team for the 2018 season once the German’s contract with Ferrari is up.

Vettel won four world championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013, but is yet to find the same kind of form with Ferrari, having won just three races since joining in 2015.

Vettel enters the final year of his contract with the Scuderia in 2017, and is set to be part of the ‘silly season’ speculation surrounding the driver market through the coming year.

Rosberg walked away from F1 after winning the world championship with Mercedes for the first time last year, making way for Valtteri Bottas to join the team from Williams.

Bottas is on an initial one-year contract, with his seat set to come under scrutiny once again this year given the available drivers elsewhere.

Speaking at the Laureus World Sports Awards, Rosberg said that he thinks Mercedes should consider signing Vettel for 2018 should he become available.

“It would definitely make sense for Sebastian to have a look at that Mercedes seat for 2018 and for Mercedes to have a look at him and to consider him,” Rosberg said.

“For 2018, that’s obvious. He’s one of the best drivers out there and he doesn’t have a contract for 2018, so they should explore the possibility and who knows, let’s see what happens. It could be a good thing.”

Besides Vettel, the other big-name driver out of contract for 2018 is McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, with the Spaniard also entering the final year of his deal.

Rosberg previously said that Alonso was never a consideration for his seat for 2017 due to the “fireworks” it would cause with Lewis Hamilton, but thinks he should be kept in mind for next year.

“Of course, Alonso, they need to keep him in mind even though he’s not the youngest out there anymore,” Alonso said.

“He’s still driving at his best, I think, it looks like from what we have seen, so he should be considered as well and I’m sure he will.”

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.”