Montezemolo brushes off “unfounded gossip” about Alonso and Raikkonen

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Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has dismissed speculation surrounding the future of drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, calling it “unfounded gossip”.

After another difficult season at Maranello, paddock rumors have suggested that Alonso could be set to return to McLaren in the near future. Raikkonen has openly admitted that he is likely to retire from F1 at the end of next season, sparking speculation that he could be dropped at the end of the season to make way for a fresh line-up.

When speaking to Ferrari’s official website, Montezemolo dismissed the speculation and underlined his faith in both Alonso and Raikkonen.

“We are lucky to have two great champions, who are working with the whole team to get back to being competitive again,” the marque’s president said. “Of course, as is the case every summer, there is unfounded gossip about alleged problems with senseless rumours bandied about, such as the ones relating to Alonso’s contract or those of drivers’ salaries.”

According to a report in the German press, Alonso was looking to extend his Ferrari contract to 2019 if the team agreed to double his salary. However, Montezemolo believes that this story is typical of the summer break and ‘silly season’.

“We know that the summer heat always produces silly stories,” he said. “Our drivers must now relax in order to return in top form. The season is still long and we need Fernando and Kimi to be in great shape.

“And on the subject of Kimi, I wish him all the best as he is soon to become a dad.”

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.