Nico Rosberg endures disastrous weekend

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Nico Rosberg had a race that was the stuff of nightmares today in Bahrain. After starting the race on pole position, he slowly fell backwards throughout the race to eventually finish 9th, scoring just two points.

“A tough day for me. As nice as it was to start from pole this afternoon, it was just as hard to finish in ninth place. I didn’t feel comfortable in the car today and it wasn’t much fun out there really,” Rosberg explained in a team statement.

“We switched to a four-stop strategy at the end of my third stint but it wasn’t enough. We were using the rear tires too much and at the end, I was really struggling and wasn’t able to push hard enough.”

Rosberg believes that Mercedes has to work hard over the three week break before the Spanish Grand Prix in order to rectify the situation.

“There is a lot of work ahead and we need to focus on why our race performance isn’t matching the pace that we can show in qualifying. Hopefully we can make some steps here before the European season starts.”

Mercedes has claimed two pole positions so far this season, but results of 3rd and 9th is not the kind of conversion that the team will have be looking for. Managing tire wear will be the priority, as four stops should have been the “safe” strategy from pole. Instead, Rosberg will be licking his wounds after a hard weekend.

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.