Mansell: New 2014 rules inflict “discrimination” on F1’s bigger drivers

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Your prototypical Formula One driver isn’t a particularly big person. But with F1 preparing for multiple introductions in 2014 such as new, 1.6-liter turbocharged engines, it appears that keeping light or getting lighter is going to be even more important for those that strap themselves into the cockpit.

And that’s not a good thing according to 1992 F1 World Champion and 1993 CART champion Nigel Mansell (pictured, center).

“It’s disgraceful, it’s discrimination against the medium-sized large driver,” he said to writer Brad Spurgeon in today’s edition of The New York Times.

“In years gone by, we didn’t have traction control or power steering. You had to be a strong driver and there were a lot of strong drivers. If you had this weight limit, they wouldn’t have been able to drive cars many years ago – or they would have driven with great difficulty.”

Spurgeon’s piece details the pressure that’s on the taller (and heavier) competitors in the F1 paddock to keep light and enable their cars to squeeze out that extra tenth or two on the track.

Former World Champion and current McLaren driver Jenson Button is quoted as saying that he fasts before races and only eats “limited amounts” of high-protein, no-carb food throughout the year.

The minimum weight for car and driver together in 2014 will be increased to 690 kilograms or 1,521 pounds; in 2013, the minimum was 642 kilograms (1,412 pounds). But as Spurgeon writes, the new equipment for next season is taking up much of that additional weight.

And that means you won’t be finding the taller drivers hitting up all-you-can-eat buffets in Monte Carlo, Austin, or anywhere else along the Grand Prix circuit.

The F1 life isn’t easy and these drivers accept that. But surely, it can afford them to have a cheeseburger and fries on occasion?

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.