Alonso: Impossible to tell if strategy is the right one

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Fernando Alonso has said that deciding on a strategy for the final part of qualifying today in India was difficult, and that he will not know whether or not it was the right call until after the race tomorrow at Buddh International Circuit.

The Ferrari driver could only qualify in eighth place, but he did run on the medium compound tire in the final stage of qualifying which meant that he could not challenge the front-runners who used the quicker soft tire. However, this decision will allow Alonso to go further in the race tomorrow before making his first pit stop.

“Before qualifying we looked at what might be the best strategy and it was very difficult to choose between two possibilities of equal worth,” Alonso explained. “It’s absolutely impossible to say how it will go tomorrow. Only after the chequered flag will we know which was the right choice.”

Ferrari, like Red Bull, opted to put their drivers on a split strategy, and Alonso believes that this will ensure the team a good haul of points on Sunday.

“The good thing about this decision is that, in putting two cars in the race on different strategies, at least one of us, me or Felipe, should be in a position to help the team in its goal of finishing second in the constructors’ world championship, which is our priority now,” the Spaniard explained.

Should Sebastian Vettel fail to finish in the top five tomorrow, Alonso must finish in the top two to keep the championship race alive heading to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend.

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.