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Haas struggles in home F1 race, drops back in constructors’ standings

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Haas Formula 1 Team had a home race to forget as both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished outside of the points in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.

Haas ventured to the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas for its second home race since joining F1 at the start of the 2016 season hopeful of building on its double-points haul in Japan last time out.

Grosjean was Haas’ best hope of points, starting 11th, and ran as high as ninth before falling back through the closing stages as he struggled with worn tires.

“Not much pace in the car, and massive tire degradation on my front-left tire. I was trying to hang in there, but the last few laps I felt it was pretty dangerous,” Grosjean said.

“Off track the weekend’s been great with the fans. I’m very sorry we couldn’t put on a better show from the team. We’re all going to work hard. We know Mexico was tough on us last year but, hopefully, we find some solutions.

“We’re going to work hard, but right now it’s disappointing not to put on a better show at home.”

Magnussen started 17th after a tough qualifying and a grid penalty, only to suffer a further setback early on after contact with Pascal Wehrlein left his Haas car with a puncture on Lap 4.

Haas moved Magnussen onto an aggressive one-stop strategy, but he too struggled to keep life in his soft compound Pirellis, causing him to fall back into Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson’s clutches on-track.

The pair collided when scrapping for position, prompting Haas to bring Magnussen in and fit a set of super-softs to get to the end of the race, where he was the last classified finisher in P16.

“Not the best day for us, but the car was actually better from qualifying. We just had to pit at the first lap, so our tires – we tried to do the whole race on softs, but not quite possible,” Magnussen said.

“We had to try. It was the only thing we could try in that situation. So, onto the next one.”

Haas dropped down to eighth in the constructors’ championship on Sunday as Renault picked up six points through Carlos Sainz Jr. in P7, leaving the American team on the back foot with three races left this season.

The tough weekend on-track was balanced out by Haas’ further embrace – and the U.S. fans’ further appreciation – of the team in several events during the weekend.

A group photo of Haas fans with the team took place at the redubbed “Haas Hill” on the outside of Turns 18 and 19, and the Haas F1 Team also conducted its second annual full-team shot pre-race on Sunday morning. (All photos: Haas F1 Team).

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.”