Sauber leads as mechanical issues strike several Tuesday at Jerez

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On soft tires and with even more laps added to its successful Monday at Jerez, Sauber and driver Felipe Nasr will take away the headline from today’s third day of Formula 1’s first 2015 preseason test.

Nasr set Tuesday’s fastest time of 1:21.545 on Pirelli’s soft tires. He did the time during the afternoon runs, after trailing another Ferrari-powered entry – the Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen – in the morning session.

Raikkonen clocked in second in his first day of running in the new SF15-T, with a best time of 1:21.750 after 92 laps. New teammate Sebastian Vettel led both Sunday and Monday’s sessions.

While the pair of Ferrari-powered drivers grabbed the headlines, others encountered mechanical woes that limited their running at times.

Nico Rosberg stopped during the morning session at Turn 10 with engine trouble, with the Mercedes AMG Petronas team confirming it was an engine shutdown that caused the W06 to stop on course. Despite the issue, Rosberg banked 93 laps before lunch and ended Tuesday with a day-high 151 completed, and third on the timesheets.

Fernando Alonso completed the most number of laps yet in the Honda-powered McLaren MP4-30 with 32 done on the day, primarily in the morning. Alonso caught an issue for this car on one of his out laps in the afternoon – with the team confirming a loss of cooling water pressure. The team opted to replace the power unit and it ended his day’s running with an unrepresentative best time of 1:35.553.

Engine gremlins limited Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull-Renault to just 48 laps completed. Pastor Maldonado, now in the Mercedes-powered Lotus, missed the start of the day’s running with a telemetry issue but got back out later in the afternoon and still banked double that number of laps with 96.

Nasr had a spin early in the day, going wide in Turn 8 and going into the gravel. Meanwhile Maldonado also stopped on track later in the afternoon to join Nasr and Rosberg as red flag instigators on the day.

The fourth and final day of the first preseason test occurs on Wednesday in Jerez, before further tests occur in Barcelona later this month. You can see Wednesday’s lineup here.

Jerez Day 3 – Final Results

1. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:21.545 (108 laps)
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:21.750 (92)
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.982 (151)
4. Felipe Massa Williams 1:22.276 (71)
5. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:22.713 (96)
6. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1:23.187 (136)
7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.901 (48)
8. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:35.553 (32)

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.