New engines to lead to more breakdowns in 2014

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McLaren sporting director Sam Michael expects to see more cars breaking down in 2014 as teams get to grips with the new engine regulations.

“Although we’re a world away from where we were 20 years ago in terms of preparation, ultimately until you get out there and run properly you’re not going to have as much reliability as you do on the current cars,” said Michael during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in.

“Do I think it will mix things up? Probably.”

“There’ll be different results that wouldn’t occur like they do now. It’s just another thing that’s part of rule changes and it’s something you have to cope with.”

The change to 1.6-liter V6 turbo engines next year will be the first overhaul in the engine regulations since the current V8 units were introduced in 2006.

Michael added teams’ attempts to avoid having unreliability problems will inevitably by tempered by the desire to achieve maximum performance.

“When you’ve have such a big change to the powertrain from a mechanical side, you will build in more margin than what you would have done previously,” he said.

“You’ll be in one of two positions [in 2014]. Either you’ve pushed it too far and you’ll be unreliable or you’ll be too heavy and you’ll want to take some weight out of the car. Both of those things take time.

“You won’t have got it bang on in all areas of the car, so everyone will be in the same game.”

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.