Vergne upset by Red Bull rejection, but calls decision “logical”

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Jean-Éric Vergne has admitted that he was left feeling upset by Red Bull’s decision not to hire him as a replacement for Mark Webber next season, but he believes that it was sensible for them to shortlist teammate Daniel Ricciardo as their option from Toro Rosso due to his greater experience in F1.

Following Webber’s announcement at Silverstone that he would be leaving F1 at the end of the season, Vergne was shortlisted along with Ricciardo and Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen for the seat. However, Christian Horner confirmed a few weeks ago that Vergne was no longer in the running, leaving the Frenchman slightly despondent.

“I was a little upset that it was him and not me, which is a normal reaction,” Vergne explained to French publication Auto Plus. “But then the leaders of Red Bull explained things clearly to me.

“Daniel has more experience in F1 than me, so it’s part of the logical process. I had a long discussion with the management of Red Bull Racing and everything is now very clear between us. I do not need to read the news to find out what they think of me.”

Ricciardo and Vergne both joined Toro Rosso at the beginning of 2012, but the Australian driver had completed eleven races for the now-defunct HRT F1 Team in 2011, giving him greater experience.

Vergne’s reaction to the rejection is understandable, but he has been assured of his place at Toro Rosso for next season. Despite this security, Vergne will question just how much further he can go in the Red Bull programme if there is no future for him with the defending world champions.

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.