Toro Rosso to make 2015 driver decision after Abu Dhabi

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Scuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has said that the team will not be making a final decision about its driver line-up for the 2015 season until after the end of the current campaign.

The fight for the second seat at Faenza is wide open, with 17-year-old Max Verstappen claiming the first drive and completing some very impressive practice running towards the end of the current season.

Formula Renault 3.5 champion Carlos Sainz Jr., vice-champion Pierre Gasly, GP3’s Alex Lynn and current Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne are all in the running for the seat, but Tost says that no final decision will be made until after the final round of the 2014 season in Abu Dhabi.

“Everything is still open. Nothing is decided yet,” Tost told the official Formula 1 website. “Red Bull will make a decision within the next weeks and then we will know whether we will head into the 2015 season with two rookies or with one experienced driver and one rookie.

“It will be close to Abu Dhabi, the week after Abu Dhabi. We have the luxury of time. There is no hurry.”

Despite being previously excluded from the shortlist, Jean-Eric Vergne is firmly back in the running for a third season at Toro Rosso, with the team suggesting that an experienced driver might be better to aid the development of Verstappen in 2015. Vergne himself believes that being kept on will be best for the team as well as for his own career.

The delay until after Abu Dhabi gives something of a reprieve to both Lynn and Gasly, who will be racing in support series at Yas Marina later this month. Lynn is poised to clinch the GP3 championship, but will need to dominate the race weekend to truly put himself in the frame for a seat at Toro Rosso in 2015.

Current driver Daniil Kvyat will move up to Red Bull in 2015, replacing Sebastian Vettel.

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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.