Grosjean targeting Q3 grid slot at Hockenheim

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Romain Grosjean has set his sights on a top ten qualifying position at next weekend’s German Grand Prix after an exit in Q2 cost him a chance of points at Silverstone.

The Frenchman started last weekend’s British Grand Prix in 11th place, but a poor start meant that he nearly got caught up in Kimi Raikkonen’s crash that led to the race being red flagged for one hour. After taking the restart in 17th, Grosjean fought his way through to finish a respectable P12, but he is hoping for better in Germany.

“I was lucky to avoid the incident at the first start and towards the end of the race our pace was quite good, but starting so far down cost us the chance of points,” Grosjean explained. “We can’t afford to give our rivals a head-start like that and a top ten grid place will be the first target for Hockenheim.

“We’ve worked hard to improve performance in the low-speed corners, so Hockenheim will be a good test of how much we’ve progressed. Apart from the run down to the hairpin there are no real straights to speak about so power unit emphasis will be on acceleration rather than top speed.”

Lotus has struggled to match its excellent 2013 form so far this season, scoring just eight points all courtesy of Grosjean. However, Romain thinks that the forecast rain could work in the team’s favor at Hockenheim.

“The weather played a part in the Silverstone weekend, just as it did at Hockenheim in 2012, so we’ll need to stay on our toes,” he said. “I think as a team we have more to gain than lose from any weather changes so we should view them as an opportunity. The E22 seemed to like the damp conditions at Silverstone.”

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.