Lewis Hamilton in line for new deal to stay at Mercedes

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With Lewis Hamilton seemingly on the verge of his second World Driving Championship, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has declared that he’ll offer the Brit a new contract to keep him with the Silver Arrows.

Hamilton’s current three-year pact with Merc is set to expire at the end of the 2015 campaign, and Wolff wants to make sure he stays paired up with fellow championship threat Nico Rosberg (who signed a multi-year extension to stay in Brackley this past July).

“That is because these two boys are part of the success of the team, they know each other so well and they respect each other,” Wolff said according to Britain’s Press Association. “The moment you get somebody else in that fight could be detrimental to the team’s performance.

“So our main priority is to continue with Lewis and Nico beyond 2015.”

Wolff said that he would revisit contract talks with Hamilton at season’s end in order to allow him a clear focus on pairing the Driver’s Championship with Mercedes’ first Constructor’s Championship.

He also said that his bosses at Mercedes-Benz have not been putting heat on him to lock in Hamilton for the years ahead.

“One of the reasons why this team has progressed forward is that as Mercedes-Benz we have this huge mothership in the background helping us,” Wolff explained. “But also they leave us to do our business and take the decisions we believe are the right ones for this tiny entity.

“We can ask for their opinions when we think it is important, and of course [Daimler AG Chairman] Dieter Zetsche and the board are part of big decision making, but there has been no such pressure.”

Hamilton’s not the only Mercedes figure set to receive a big reward.

Paul Weaver of the UK’s Guardian newspaper reports that each member of the team staff at Brackley – from engineering all the way down to cleaning and catering – will receive a minimum bonus of 10,000 GBP (roughly $16,000 USD) in the wake of claiming the Constructor’s title.

The team celebrated the accomplishment today at team HQ:

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.