Lotus backers Infinity Racing spoke to three other teams

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Lotus’ newly-confirmed backers, Infinity Racing have confirmed that they spoke to three others teams besides Lotus before eventually signing a deal with the Enstone based team.

The consortium, not to be confused with Infiniti, is led by Mansoor Ijaz, who revealed the discussions after the announcement was made earlier this week.

“We have been looking at Formula One for about two years now,” Ijaz explained to Sports Pro Media. “We looked at three other teams before we decided on Lotus. I won’t mention which ones but we had general discussions and in some cases very specific discussions.”

However, Ijaz praised Lotus’ team spirit, which seems to have been the deciding factor in gaining Infinity’s backing.

“There were two things missing in the other teams we looked at,” he continued. “The first was the element of real team spirit, meaning across the board – vertically as well as horizontally – in terms of the breadth and depth of the team’s capacity – its interconnectedness. I just didn’t see that in any of the other teams that we looked at. The second element was the business brains that run Genii Capital and the business brains that affect the way in which Lotus is managed as a business; these are men cut from the same cloth as I have been throughout my career.

“There was a congruency in the way we thought the business ought to be run. They’ve done an incredibly good job to bring team harmony back to a team that had been fractured by the problems it had before.”

The team has gone through a period of uncertainty following the Crashgate fiasco back in 2008-2009, failing to match its championship winning days as Renault during 2005 and 2006. With Infinity’s backing though, Lotus could be set to return to these dizzying heights with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

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.