Rossi set to be denied F1 debut for a third time

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American driver Alexander Rossi is set to be denied his Formula 1 debut for a third time as Marussia faces missing the United States Grand Prix in Austin next weekend.

Rossi has been knocking on the door of F1 for some time, spending the past three years in a reserve role at Caterham and then Marussia.

The Californian left Caterham back in July, but soon moved into a similar role at Marussia where he was scheduled to take part in a number of practice sessions from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards.

However, he was set to receive a surprise debut at Spa-Francorchamps when regular driver Max Chilton was benched for financial reasons. The team confirmed on the Thursday of the Belgian GP that Rossi would race in his place alongside Jules Bianchi.

Marussia then reneged on its plans though after Chilton threatened legal action, meaning that Rossi only took part in practice as planned.

Rossi’s next chance for a race start came at the Russian Grand Prix. Following Jules Bianchi’s accident at the Japanese Grand Prix that left him with severe head injuries, Rossi was put on standby to substitute for the Frenchman in Sochi. Ultimately, the team opted to run with just one car, leaving Bianchi’s ready to race, waiting for its driver on the other side of the garage.

Marussia had not confirmed whether it would be racing with both cars in Austin, but if it intended to do so, Rossi would have made his full Formula 1 debut at his home grand prix. Alas, the team’s financial problems mean that it will not be racing until Abu Dhabi at the earliest, meaning that Rossi’s own F1 hopes have been put on hold yet again.

Rossi is known to have held preliminary talks with Gene Haas about a role with Haas F1 Team for the 2016 season, but for the time being, the wait for an American driver to grace the grid continues.

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.