F1 will end up with just “three or four” teams, warns Mallya

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Force India owner Vijay Mallya foresees a bleak future for F1’s smaller teams as costs are set to rise.

Mallya said he feared engine and associated costs will double due to the expense spent on developing new V6 units for 2014.

He blamed F1’s richest teams for wrecking initiatives to control costs: “The FIA and FOTA [Formula One Teams’ Association] – when it existed in full strength – had resolved that we need to reduce the costs of Formula One.”

“But rather than reducing costs, one or two teams have decided winning at any cost is more important than the sustainability of the sport, so there is no resource restriction that is implemented, quite contrary to the fact that costs are going up.”

FOTA suffered a major split when Ferrari and Red Bull left the teams’ body at the end of 2011.

Mallya said the current situation could force more than half of F1’s teams out of the sport: “Whether it is the commercial rights holder, the FIA, or the teams themselves, I think it is very necessary that all the important stakeholders sit across the table and find a viable solution.”

“If you only want three or four teams in Formula One running three cars each you should proceed in the way it is now. But I think Formula One also needs the smaller independent teams as well, so everybody must also look at the common interests – not only the individual interests.”

Last week Mallya’s deputy Bob Fernley questioned whether costs were being allowed to rise in order to force the smaller teams out and hasten the introduction of customer cars.

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.