Webber hoping for final flourish in Italy

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Mark Webber is hoping to claim his maiden podium in Italy next weekend as he races a Formula One car at Monza for the final time.

The Australian driver confirmed at the British Grand Prix that he would be walking away from the sport at the end of the season in favor of a move to Porsche’s LMP1 programme that will see him race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans next season. However, he is still focused on finishing his F1 career in the best possible fashion, and a podium at Monza will be another achievement chalked off the list.

“I like Monza a lot because it’s very Formula One in terms of its history and its atmosphere,” Webber said. “All of the greats have raced there and I have an affinity with Italians from my Minardi days. The track is one of a kind, it’s an incredibly fast circuit with high top speeds, so there’s a lot of heavy braking.

“Monza has never been that kind to me; I’ve had a few retirements and have never finished on the podium, so I want to get a good result there this year!”

Webber’s best result at Monza is a lowly sixth place in the 2010 race, with the circuit traditionally being a challenge for Red Bull despite their dominance at other tracks. However, the Aussie will be keen on bettering this result in what will also be his final grand prix in Europe.

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.