Wolff: Rosberg and Hamilton are tense, but not Senna/Prost

5 Comments

The Mercedes team battle of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton has been compared to the Ayrton Senna/Alain Prost rivalry with McLaren in 1988 and 1989, but according to Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, that’s an incorrect comparison.

“There have been a lot of comparisons to the Senna/Prost scenario, which is a kind of compliment to both Lewis and Nico,” the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport president said on the team’s official website, “but the situation here is very different.

“The racing philosophy of Mercedes-Benz is to allow our drivers to compete: we let the boys play with their toys, unless they break them.”

Thus far they haven’t – in fact only a mechanical failure for Hamilton at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix has been the only time where a Mercedes hasn’t finished first or second this season. They have amassed 240 of a possible 258 points this season.

In Bahrain, Hamilton and Rosberg engaged in a titanic scrap for the lead, but didn’t overstep the boundaries. The battle reached its zenith at Monaco this past weekend with Rosberg’s qualifying mistake, Hamilton’s less than positive comments about it, and Rosberg controlling the race from start to finish.

Niki Lauda has vowed to get them back on civil terms before the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend.

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.