Sirotkin: I’m not ready for F1 yet

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Future Sauber driver Sergey Sirotkin has called 2013 “the worst season of my life” and admitted that he is not yet ready to step up to Formula One, although he is confident that he will be sufficiently prepared for his debut in Australia in March.

Sirotkin is set to become the youngest driver in the history of the sport at the age of eighteen, with his arrival at Sauber being part of a rescue package from some Russian investors. With the inaugural Russian Grand Prix being held at Sochi next season, a home driver has been secured, but Sirotkin admits that he has a lot of work to do.

“Our preparation programme has just started so I am not quite ready but by the time the first race comes, I will be ready, I know that,” Sirotkin explained to online publication crash.net. “There is nothing I am afraid of. I am looking forward to it.”

Today marked the final round of the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 championship, with the series widely being regarded as a training ground for future F1 drivers. However, Sirotkin has failed to impress this year, claiming two podiums and finishing in the points on just three further occasions to finish the championship in ninth place.

“This was the worst season of my life,” he said. “Unfortunately I am really unhappy with it. We had some very bright races but so many bad things happen. We are really not happy.”

Sirotkin’s teammate for 2014 has yet to be revealed but Felipe Massa and the team’s current pairing of Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg are all thought to be in the running for the seat.

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.