Who could be racing for Caterham in Abu Dhabi?

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Following Friday’s announcement that Caterham will now be lining up on the grid for the final race of the Formula 1 season, a number of questions have been brought up, largely surrounding the long-term future of the team and the suitability of its crowdfunding project.

However, with Marcus Ericsson confirming that he has cut all ties with Caterham ahead of his move to Sauber, the backmarkers will need to draft in at least one replacement for the final round in Abu Dhabi.

So who could be the drivers that do indeed line up on the grid in Abu Dhabi?

Kamui Kobayashi

The Japanese driver was supposed to be Caterham’s leading light in 2014, not being a conventional pay driver and instead being hired for his talents. However, he has since become something of a second thought for Caterham. In Belgium, he was dropped for Andre Lotterer, and was not set to race in Italy before being called on Wednesday in Japan and told to get on the next flight so he could race. Kobayashi could race in Abu Dhabi, but only if Caterham can’t find a higher bidder.

Andre Lotterer

Following his one-off appearance at Spa, Lotterer turned down a second race for Caterham at Monza, instead choosing to focus on his WEC commitments with Audi. The German has been offered the chance to race in Abu Dhabi, according to Autosport, and said he is not sure if he will take it up. With the WEC finale in Brazil just one week later, it might be a bit of a stretch for Lotterer.

Roberto Merhi

Merhi is perhaps the most likely candidate for the seat alongside Kobayashi, having enjoyed a very successful practice run-out at Monza in September. The Spaniard reportedly has a deal to race in Abu Dhabi, so expect him to make his F1 debut. After considering quitting motorsport at the beginning of the year, making his F1 debut would be the perfect way to mark a huge turnaround in events.

Max Chilton

This is more of a ‘two and two makes four’ deduction, but the outcast Marussia driver may look to make an F1 return in Abu Dhabi. Neither party has said that it will happen, but if Chilton is looking to use his budget to secure a seat for the final race of the year, he would be a very viable option for Caterham.

Jolyon Palmer

Again, this is more based on logic than anything, but if GP2 champion Palmer was looking to make his F1 debut early, he could give himself a very busy weekend in Abu Dhabi by vying for the seat. However, he might think it better to bide his time and work on a package over the winter to find a place on the grid for 2015.

Alice Powell

Largely unknown in the US, Alice Powell enjoyed a successful junior career in the UK before taking part in some GP3 races last season. Reports suggested that her family was putting together a package for her to take part in FP1 in Abu Dhabi, but without a super licence, and far bigger offers on the table, this is a long shot if there ever was one.

Ultimately, the seats will go to the highest bidders, so in reality, it is a very open fight. With more staff being made redundant earlier this week, though, it seems that making the grid in Abu Dhabi may only paper over some of the cracks at Caterham.

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.