Horner: Ricciardo to slot into Red Bull setup easily

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Christian Horner is confident that Daniel Ricciardo will slot into the Red Bull setup with great ease when he eventually joins the team at the end of this season.

Following Mark Webber’s decision to retire, the team has opted to hire his compatriot – Ricciardo – to partner three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. Although most drivers do take a few races to settle in with a new team, Horner is confident that Ricciardo will not need this ‘honeymoon period’ thanks to his work at Toro Rosso (Red Bull’s sister team).

“He knows how we operate and what is expected from a grand prix driver at Red Bull Racing,” Horner explained to the official Formula One website. “He will not need a ‘honeymoon period’ to get to know each other. He knows us intimately – and that will make a huge difference. At least that is what we – and he – expect.”

Horner also insisted that Ricciardo would be treated equally alongside Vettel, despite the dispute over team orders breaking out at the Malaysian Grand Prix this year where the team appeared to favor the German driver over Mark Webber.

“Our job is to give him the opportunity and platform to demonstrate that,” Horner said. “He will have the same opportunity as Sebastian. We are delighted over our 2014 driver line-up, as we think it is the best that we could think of.”

Ricciardo will be keen on impressing during his final few races for Toro Rosso before leaving the Italian team at the end of the season.

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.