Pirelli given extra time to submit 2014 plans

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Pirelli have been given an extension to submit their tire designs for the 2014 Formula One season should they extend their contract with the sport into next year.

The Italian tire supplier has come under fire this season for its designs. At the beginning of the year, many of the teams criticized the tires for not allowing their drivers to push to the limit throughout the race, but the proposed ‘prototype’ tire was rejected. The crisis worsened at the British Grand Prix following a series of concerning tire failures, prompting Pirelli to re-introduce its 2012 tire construction on safety grounds. Despite all of these issues, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery explained to Sporting Life how he was still seeking a contract renewal and that he had obtained an extension to submit the initial plans.

“We’re in the most bizarre situation,” Hembery explained. “There isn’t a clearly defined process but we’re going forward, getting the teams signed up, the promoter signed up and we’re working on 2014. We’ve agreements in place with the majority of the people involved, co-operation from them, and we’ve ongoing co-operation from the FIA.

“Until somebody tells us anything different, we don’t know what we should be doing differently.

“For now, with regards to the plans for 2014, we’re going for October 1st, so we’ve a few more weeks yet.”

Hembery had previously expressed his concerns over a lack of knowledge for next season, claiming that it would be impossible for Pirelli to re-design tires for 2013 whilst developing new compounds for next season. However, by reverting to last season’s tires, it would appear that a solution has been found and Pirelli could yet secure its fourth season in F1 for 2014.

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.