Red Bull signs Dean Stoneman, Callum Ilott to junior team

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Red Bull has confirmed the signings of British drivers Dean Stoneman (pictured) and Callum Ilott to its junior team for the 2015 racing season.

Following Carlos Sainz Jr’s move up to Formula 1 with Toro Rosso for 2015 and GP3 champion Alex Lynn’s move away to Williams, Stoneman and Ilott have been drafted in as replacements and will receive backing from the energy drink brand for the next twelve months.

Stoneman, 24, broke onto the racing scene back in 2010 by winning the now-defunct FIA Formula 2 championship, earning himself a Formula 1 test with Williams.

However, his motorsport hopes were put on hold when he diagnosed with testicular cancer, preventing him from moving up to Formula Renault 3.5 where he would have been Daniel Ricciardo’s teammate.

After lengthy treatment, Stoneman returned to racing in the British Porsche Carerra Cup and finished fifth in the 2013 championship before racing in the final GP3 round of the season in Abu Dhabi.

For 2014, Stoneman stayed in GP3 with Marussia Manor before moving to Koiranen for the final four races of the year. With five wins, the Briton finished as runner-up to former Red Bull junior Lynn.

Now, he will move across to Formula Renault 3.5 for the 2015 season with DAMS, and was delighted to have finally announced the news.

“To be part of the Red Bull Junior Team has been one of my life goals and it is fantastic to be given the chance,” Stoneman said.

“You just have to look at the names that have gone before to see that only the best drivers get into the programme. I’m thrilled about the year ahead, to be in the DAMS team in World Series is a perfect opportunity.”

16-year-old Callum Ilott will also enjoy Red Bull backing for the new season following his European karting championship victory in 2014. He will move up to the FIA F3 European Championship for his first season in single-seaters, having spent some time out in New Zealand over the past few months racing in the Toyota Winter Series.

“Being in the Red Bull Junior Team is a privilege,” Ilott said. “You just have to look at the history of the drivers that have gone before.

“Last season was very good for me so I was hoping for a good start in cars but I didn’t imagine that I would get this opportunity. I want to make a good impression this year, show my speed early and keep improving.”

Stoneman and Ilott will join Pierre Gasly on the junior programme for 2015, with the Frenchman enjoying his place with the team for a second year after finishing second in last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 championship. Gasly will race in GP2 this year for DAMS alongside Alex Lynn.

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.