Lotus boss defends under-fire Grosjean

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Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is optimistic Romain Grosjean will bounce back after a bruising Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

Grosjean had four separate crashes on the Monte-Carlo track. He hit the barriers twice at Sainte Devote and once at the chicane, then rammed into Daniel Ricciardo during the race, for which he received a ten-place penalty for the next race in Canada.

“We will sit down with him and go through the weekend,” Boullier told Reuters. “It’s always the same story, especially in Monaco.”

Grosjean showed promising speed at times. During qualifying he immediately went to the top of the times after returning to the track after his car had been repaired.

“He had the pace, we could see it,” Boullier admitted. “It’s even more frustrating because of that.”

Ironically, Grosjean failed to reach the top ten shoot-out after complaining he’d been blocked by Ricciardo.

Grosjean had several incidents during his first full season of Formula One last year. He was banned for one race after triggering multi-car crash at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix.

“He did a great job over the winter and fixed all the problems he had last year,” Boullier added. “But there is some frustration some time when he knows he can be fast. He just needs to build himself saying he is fast, and he can deliver some big results.”

Boullier is also the CEO of Gravity Sports Management which represents Grosjean and other drivers.

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.