Lotus close to confirming Romain Grosjean for 2015

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Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi has said that Romain Grosjean is close to being retained for the 2015 Formula 1 season.

Grosjean has led Lotus’ charge in 2014, scoring all eight of its points, but has not yet been announced as staying with the team for the 2015 season. Teammate Pastor Maldonado was confirmed for 2015 back in July.

Although there were some questions about Grosjean’s position following Lotus’ switch to Mercedes engines for 2015, Gastaldi said that it is simply a case of finalizing the details for him to remain with the team.

“Romain is in pole position for that place and honestly it’s a case of us finalizing a few details,” Gastaldi said. “We expect to have an announcement very shortly.

“Like the technical package confirmation there has been a lot going on in the offices at Enstone, as well as the pits and paddock. It is all looking very good and exciting for the team going forwards.”

Lotus confirmed earlier this month that it would be switching from Renault to Mercedes engines, and Gastaldi feels that the team needed a change of direction for 2015.

“We realised it was time for a new direction and we’re very happy we can finally confirm this publicly,” Gastaldi said. “Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains have already made a positive impression and we believe that they will be a key ingredient for future success.

“It has become obvious this year that they have the most competitive package on the engine side. Their strengths, allied to ours, will form a potent combination in 2015 and create a special E23 Hybrid package. The partnership also forms a key ingredient for the long-term future of Lotus F1 Team.”

Grosjean will be hoping to strengthen his case by adding to Lotus’ points haul at the United States Grand Prix in Austin next weekend.

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.