van der Garde happy to have found his feet in F1

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Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde has conceded that his first few races in Formula One were something of a struggle, but the Dutchman is happy to have found his feet to now find himself competing at the front of the backmarkers’ battles.

Marussia and Caterham may not be fighting for points, but the battle for P10 in the constructors’ championship looks set to be one of the few results not to have been decided heading into the final round of the season. Currently, Marussia occupy that position by virtue of Jules Bianchi’s thirteenth-place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix, but van der Garde is determined to get Caterham back into the top ten.

“Of course for us it’s very important to get the tenth place back,” the Dutchman said on Thursday in India. “I think the last few races we’ve seen that we’ve always been in front in the race compared with Marussia, so the one thing we need is a little luck and the only thing we can do is maximize ourselves, maximize the car, maximize the team and the rest is luck.”

In terms of his own season, van der Garde believes that he has turned a corner in the last few races after a baptism of fire into the sport, but there is still room for improvement.

“At the beginning, I struggled a little bit, then in the middle of the season everything fell into place and since then I’ve had good speed. I still have to improve the qualifying a little bit but race pace has been very good.”

van der Garde’s future is yet to be confirmed, but the Dutchman’s recent performances should be enough to secure him a place on the grid in 2014.

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.