Report: Korea aiming for 2016 F1 return with night street race in Seoul

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Borrowing a page from the Singapore Grand Prix’s playbook, Korean promoters want to bring Formula One back to their country in 2016 with a night-time street race in Seoul.

Ian de Cotta of Singapore’s Today publication writes that a Korean delegation have apparently gotten F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to warm up to their proposal after meetings with him during last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

de Cotta also reports that said delegation is led by a former chief executive of the Korea Auto Valley Operation, the organizers of the ill-fated Korean Grand Prix that raced at Yeongam from 2010-2013. However, the delegation apparently has no connection to KOVA.

Bad attendance plagued Formula One’s stay at Yeongam, as the purpose-built Korean International Circuit was situated several hours away from the Seoul metropolitan area. In addition, the race lost substantial amounts of money for organizers as well.

But said former executive, Chung Yung-cho, is confident that a Seoul race would cost far less to organize and stand a better chance of getting people in the grandstands.

de Cotta relays word from a source close to Yung-cho: “The business model for the Singapore Grand Prix is attractive, and if we can do the same in [Seoul], it makes more sense for people to buy tickets to watch the race. I think it will work for Korea this time if Bernie and Chung can reach a deal.”

Said source also noted that Singapore was able to create its pit building for the Marina Bay Street Circuit in less than a year’s time, and that Yung-cho thinks his group can create one for a Seoul race in the same timeframe.

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.