German F1 drivers revel in FIFA World Cup victory

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As festivities at Hockenheim got underway today ahead of the German Grand Prix, there was only one thing that everyone in the F1 paddock was talking about.

Soccer.

Yes, it might be surprising, but when you’ve got a German driver and team leading the championships, and a paddock full of Germans, it isn’t so shocking. Mercedes paid tribute to the nation’s win in Brazil with a new livery on its motorhome, calling the team “Das Beste” (which we needn’t translate), and in a press conference featuring four German drivers, it isn’t surprising what the hot topic was.

Nico Rosberg had planned to use a special World Cup themed helmet for this weekend’s race, but has been forced to change it after FIFA claimed his use of the trophy was in breach of its copyright. The design has since been changed to centre on a star. “It was a pity because it looked really cool with the trophy on the top,” Rosberg said. “It’s replaced now with a big star, and no-one can take that away from us. That’s ours!”

As for the final itself, unsurprisingly, a number of the drivers did watch eagerly as Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 at the Estadio Maracana. Rosberg himself had quite a sweet evening watching it with his family.

“I watched it at my parents place, as is tradition in our family because my Mom is the biggest soccer fanatic in our family, so I watched it there with friends and went absolutely crazy when they scored,” he said. “It was a great time!”

Sebastian Vettel also watched it with his loved ones, and said it was an important victory given that the nation’s last came in

“I watched in on TV at home,” Vettel said. “Thank God they showed it. At home, with a couple of friends. I think the reason, it has been 24 years since we last won the World Cup. I hope that the next one doesn’t take 24 years again.

“I think we had a very strong team for the last World Cups as well and were very close to win. It’s good that we succeeded now.”

Adrian Sutil had two chances in the World Cup, given that he is half Uruguayan. He too was delighted with the victory, and believes that it will only aid spirits ahead of the race this weekend.

“It was a great game, I think,” the Sauber driver said. “Very exciting and both played very well. One minute the Germans were a bit better than the other ones and scored a goal. I think something to be very proud of.

“It’s great to see Germany being very happy about it. So many festivals and parties after it, so really, really good. Good mood in the air, so, great also for this weekend here, for the German Grand Prix.”

Nico Hulkenberg put the success down to the strength and unity of the German team. “I also watched it at home with some friends,” he said. “I think we won because we had the strongest team and a great team spirit, a very clever coach.”

Undoubtedly, this weekend’s race has come at a perfect time for both the German drivers and the fans. Spirits are undoubtedly high, and the German representatives in the paddock will be hoping to continue the national sporting success on Sunday.

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.