A tidy Thursday for Valtteri Bottas and Williams

1 Comment

Valtteri Bottas believes there’s still room to improve for Williams after today’s test work at Bahrain International Circuit, but overall, the second-year Formula One driver was pleased.

Bottas was second-fastest on the chart with a lap at 1:36.184 – almost a full second behind the pace-setter from Sergio Perez, but part of a day that saw him run the most laps out of anyone with 128.

“It’s been another good day for us,” he said. “It was nice to get the whole run plan done. We didn’t have any issues all day, so well done to all the team for getting the car running so well. We have a lot of data to analyze tonight after doing some aero work this morning and a race distance and set-up work this afternoon.

“We did some very interesting tests and there are still plenty of things to improve, so we’ll keep pushing.”

Bottas’ to-do list on Thursday had a little bit of everything according to Rob Nelson, the team’s chief test and support engineer.

“We started the morning by testing some aero components, all of which correlated well with what we were expected from the wind tunnel,” he said. “We then did a race simulation this afternoon including laps to the grid and everything that goes into a race and that also went well. We then completed our program for today with some new tire work for Pirelli.

“Overall, it’s been a really good day completing 128 laps.”

Felipe Massa will step into the FW36 tomorrow for the Grove-based outfit.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Leave a 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.