Lotus confirms switch to Mercedes engines for 2015 F1 season

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Lotus F1 Team has today confirmed that it will be using Mercedes engines from the beginning of the 2015 Formula 1 season, moving away from long-term partners Renault.

Speculation about the deal first emerged at the British Grand Prix back in July, but has only been announced by both parties today ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

“We are pleased to have been chosen by Mercedes AMG High Performance in a significant long term deal,” team CEO Matthew Carter said. “We intend to return to the front of the field with the goals of winning grands prix and being a strong championship contender once more and we see this new agreement as one step towards this aim.

“The Mercedes-Benz Power Unit has shown good performance on track and it is our goal to marry this motive force to Enstone’s chassis expertise. It is our desire that the E23 Hybrid, powered by Mercedes-Benz, heralds a new era of success for Enstone.”

Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff was pleased to welcome Lotus on board, making up for the loss of McLaren as the British team switches to Honda engines for 2015.

“It was strategically important for Mercedes-Benz to continue to supply three customers throughout this generation of Power Unit, in addition to the primary focus on our Silver Arrows works team, and it was therefore clear that we would be looking for a new customer from 2015,” Wolff explained.

“Lotus F1 Team is an impressive organization that has delivered competitive on-track performances in recent seasons. We are pleased to welcome them to the Mercedes-Benz family and look forward to building a productive and performant working relationship in the years ahead.”

Lotus also confirmed that it will be using Mercedes’ current technology partner, Petronas, for its ‘fluid technology solutions’ from the 2015 season, which could put Romain Grosjean’s place at risk given his deal with rival company Total.

The first partnership with Renault for the Enstone-based team came in 1995, when Italian team Benetton switched from Ford power to the French marque for the second of Michael Schumacher’s world championships.

Ultimately, the team was bought out by Renault for the 2002 season, and it went on to win world titles with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 before withdrawing as a works team at the end of the 2011 season, when the operation became known as Lotus F1 Team.

Given the superiority of the Mercedes engines in 2014, this move should give Lotus a huge boost ahead of next season after a disappointing final campaign with Renault that has yielded just eight points at the time of writing.

Provisional 2015 F1 engine contracts

Mercedes: Mercedes, Williams, Force India, Lotus (4)
Renault: Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Caterham (3)
Ferrari: Ferrari, Sauber, Marussia (3)
Honda: McLaren (1)

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.