Raikkonen excluded from qualifying for technical infringement

2 Comments

Kimi Raikkonen has been excluded from qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a technical infringement on his car, causing it to fail a post-session inspection.

The technical report read:

“After the qualifying practice session an assymetric LHS front floor deflection test was carried on car numbers seven and eleven. Car number seven did not comply with article 3.17.5 of the 2013 FIA Formula One technical regulations as the front floor deflected more than 5mm vertically when the load was applied vertically to it at the point which lies 100mm of car centre line on the LHS.”

Seven minutes after this report was published, the stewards requested that the team explain why Raikkonen’s car failed the test with a meeting scheduled for 20:15 local time.

Two hours later, the stewards confirmed that Raikkonen had been excluded from the results due to the infringement. However, he will be able to start from the back of the grid in tomorrow’s race.

“The stewards heard the explanation of the team that the relevant part broke upon contact with a kerb. However, the stewards did not accept that the incident referred to constituted an accident, or excused failing the relevant test.”

This is not a new occurrence for Lotus. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean’s car suffered a similar problem, but the team proved that the car only failed the test due to damage caused to the floor by the kerbs at the track. The stewards accepted this reasoning and took no further action, but Lotus have been unable to convince them of the same reasoning here in Abu Dhabi.

Raikkonen will now start the race from last on the grid, but it is likely that he will follow the example set by Sebastian Vettel at last year’s race in Abu Dhabi and instead start from the pit lane, allowing Lotus to make some changes to his car overnight.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.