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Formula 1: Recapping the past week’s news

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Here’s some of the biggest news from the F1 world this past week:

‘Grid Kids’ to Replace ‘Grid Girls’

The controversial debate about ‘Grid Girls’ came to a conclusion earlier in the week when Formula One revealed that ‘Grid Kids’ will replace ‘Grid Girls.’ A regular practice of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, Formula 1 will pull kids from various motorsport clubs and karting series to stand alongside drivers on the grid before races during the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

Sean Bratches, F1’s managing director of commercial operations, quickly explained that the change is geared toward engaging young fans in the sport. “What better way to inspire the next generation of Formula 1 heroes?” he quipped during the announcement.

McLaren, Dell Confirm New Partnership

McLaren F1 Team has its first corporate sponsor and partner in several years after confirming a new partnership with computer company Dell Technologies.

“McLaren’s agreement with Dell Technologies expands beyond the traditional sponsorship model. We are like-minded organizations led by the key principles of technical innovation and human progress at the cutting-edge of data-driven technology,” said McLaren executive director Zak Brown in a team announcement.

The confirmation represents the first major corporate sponsorship for McLaren since Vodafone left the team after the 2013 season.

Confirmed Launch Dates

The first of the 2018 cars is scheduled to be officially launched next week on February 15, with Williams Martini Racing being the first team unveil their 2018 challenger.

Below are confirmed dates for 2018 car launches.

February 15 – Williams Martini Racing

February 20 -Alfa Romeo Sauber, Renault Sport F1 Team

February 22 – Scuderia Ferrari, Mercedes AMG Petronas

February 23 – McLaren F1 Team

February 26 – Scuderia Toro Rosso

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Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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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.”