Webber has to prove his worth, says Horner

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Mark Webber will remain their driver as long as he “delivers” for the team.

Webber enters his 12th season as an F1 driver this year with his Red Bull contact up for renewal. It’s a familiar situation for him as he has had several one-year extensions on his deal in recent seasons.

“The last three years have apparently been Mark’s last year, and yet he has been retained by the team because of what he is doing in the car,” said Horner.

“There are an awful lot of drivers who would like to be sat in a Red Bull car, but he’s there on merit, and whilst he delivers for the team he will have that place.”

Together with Sebastian Vettel, who joined the team in 2009, Webber and Vettel are the longest-running driver partnership in F1 today:

“We’re very happy with Mark going into what will be his seventh year with the team, the fifth consecutive year he will have been paired with Sebastian,” said Horner.

“Mark has demonstrated that on his day he can be unbeatable, and he does just need to string a campaign together…he’s improved as he’s matured. Last year he drove very well. If we didn’t think he could still do it then we wouldn’t have taken him for another year with the team.”

Red Bull’s junior drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, both at Toro Rosso, are among those vying for a chance to drive next year’s RB10. Webber’s contract extension last year came in the wake of his second race win of the year at the British Grand Prix in July.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.