Iconic F1 designer Gerard Ducarouge dies at 73

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Gerard Ducarouge, veteran and iconic designer primarily for Ligier, Lotus and Matra, among others, has died at age 73 (shown right, in 1989, with Larrousse).

Ducarouge’s career began in missile projects before moving to Matra Sports in 1965. By 1969, the Cosworth-powered Matra MS80 won the World Championship with Jackie Stewart.

His success then continued at Le Mans in the 1970s, with the Matra MS670 prevailing in three consecutive 24-hour endurance classics from 1972 to 1974.

Once Matra ceased its motorsports operations, Ducarouge moved to Ligier, where he went onto have great success.

The JS5 – and its massive, memorable, giant airbox aboard Jacques Laffite’s chassis – won the pole for the 1976 Italian Grand Prix. A year later, the updated JS7 took Ligier’s first Grand Prix victory.

Further victories followed in 1979 with the JS11 but by 1981, Ducarouge was unceremoniously dumped by Ligier during the season.

He had a brief stint at Alfa Romeo and then moved to Lotus in 1983.

By 1985 he had Ayrton Senna in the driver lineup alongside the talented Elio de Angelis. Senna took his first Grand Prix victory at Estoril later that year, in the Lotus 97T. He stayed at Lotus for four years, and later headed to Larrousse.

A return to Ligier followed in the 1990s – Mark Blundell and Martin Brundle were among the drivers there during his second stint.

Blundell and Brundle were among those to offer their condolences, and some of the reflections on Twitter are linked below.

We join them in offering our condolences, as well.

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.