Ferrari staying grounded despite strong pre-season display

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Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has called for “concentration and discipline” at Maranello in spite of a strong display by the Prancing Horse across the course of winter testing.

Coming off the back of a woeful 2014 campaign, Ferrari made a good start to testing by topping three of the first four days in Jerez at the beginning of February.

Although the team failed to repeat this feat on any of the eight days of running in Barcelona, Arrivabene said that it had hit all of its objectives for testing. Nevertheless, he remains cautious.

“I can say that we have reached our objectives,” Arrivabene said. “The SF15-T is behaving as we’d expected. Kimi, who drove last last year’s car, sees an improvement and Sebastian, who is driving today, is also happy.

“But we all have our feet on the ground, because we know the other teams aren’t sleeping. It’s clear that Mercedes is there, but we have to concentrate on ourselves. At the moment we have a rough idea of our position relative to the opposition, but we know everyone follows different test programmes.

“Therefore, we are following ours, with concentration and discipline, which I believe are the keys to success. I have spoken to the team and I have made this clear.”

On Saturday, Arrivabene took some time out of his busy schedule to sit with the fans in the main grandstand at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Speaking on Sunday, he said that he believes that plans to limit paddock access even further in F1 would be a mistake.

“I heard that in Australia there will be further restrictions in terms of passes for the paddock and so I thought we might as well get used to going to the grandstands!” Arrivabene said.

“I found the people to be very well educated and polite. These restrictions do not seem acceptable: having an ‘exclusive’ atmosphere doesn’t mean having an empty paddock. Golf is maybe one of the most exclusive sports, but there are thousands of people following the players.”

The 2015 Formula 1 season kicks off in Australia on March 15.

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.