Consistency pleases Alonso, but progress is needed (VIDEO)

2 Comments

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso has said that he is pleased with the points that the team has picked up in the first two races of the 2014 Formula 1 season, but he believes that progress needs to be made if the Italian marque is to challenge Mercedes and Red Bull for race wins.

Alonso finished today’s Malaysian Grand Prix in fourth place, capitalizing on Daniel Ricciardo’s bad luck to gain a position after spending most of the race in P5. Despite lying third in the drivers’ championship with 24 points, Alonso has said that the team is still on the back foot.

“It was okay,” Alonso explained to NBCSN’s Will Buxton. “We didn’t have the pace, the chance to fight with Mercedes and Red Bull today. They were a little bit too fast for us. But we managed to get this fourth place like in Australia. It gives us a valuable 12 points which puts us 3rd in the drivers’ championship one point behind Hamilton, some points in front of some of the favorites.

“That is probably the positive news about these two grands prix, the drivers points and championship points.

“On the other side, we know that the performance is not quite there yet, so we will work hard in the next couple of points because we want to close that gap.”

The Spanish driver brought home Ferrari’s only points from Malaysia after a first-lap run-in for Kimi Raikkonen meant that the Finn spent the rest of the race languishing outside of the points.

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.