Magnussen downbeat after poor qualifying display

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McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen has made no secret of his annoyance after qualifying down in 15th place for tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix.

The Danish driver, who is currently taking part in his debut season in Formula 1, made a great start to the year in Australia by finishing second. However, since then, he has scored just two points, having struggled for pace in Malaysia and retired from the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago.

If he had any hopes of scoring some more points in China this weekend, they have been dealt a huge blow after he failed to get to grips with the wet conditions on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m pretty disappointed to have qualified 15th,” Magnussen said. “It’s not great.

“I don’t really know what happened, we had issues with overall grip. I’m not sure if it was the tires not being in the correct working temperature range.”

Despite this result, Magnussen is confident that the position is not representative of both his and McLaren’s potential, and he believes that with some work the team can understand what caused such a poor performance.

“We’ll go back and look at things,” he said. “I believe we’re better than 15th, so we clearly didn’t get everything right today. Still, we’re not fast enough and we need to find more speed.

“The team is doing a good job of improving things, but it just takes time. These things aren’t fixed overnight, but I have faith in the team.

“We’ll get there. We’ll see what we can do in the race tomorrow.”

Jenson Button also endured a difficult Saturday in Shanghai, qualifying down in 12th position. McLaren will be hoping that – with a slice of luck and perhaps some dry running – a good haul of points is still possible tomorrow.

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.