Ricciardo forced to take final allocated engine in Spain

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MONTMELO – Red Bull’s difficult start to the 2015 Formula 1 season continued during practice for the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday as Daniel Ricciardo suffered yet another engine failure.

The Australian driver entered the race weekend already on his third internal combustion engine (ICE) of the year, leaving him just one spare for the remaining 15 races of the 2015 season.

However, a problem in FP1 saw him pit after just two laps and spend most of the session in his garage, whilst he only got out at the very end of FP2 to complete four laps.

Speaking after practice, Ricciardo confirmed that he had been forced to take his fourth and final allocated ICE ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session in Spain.

“We expected we would be limited with mileage today, and we also knew that we would have to use the fourth engine for FP2,” Ricciardo admitted.

“It would’ve been nice to get some more laps in but we did enough to give us plenty of data to look at. Dany [Kvyat] had a cleaner session and we’ll also look at his data and try to learn a few things for tomorrow.

“There’s a lot of potential with the upgrades and tomorrow’s qualifying is what counts.”

Despite remaining upbeat, Ricciardo will be well aware that an engine penalty is looming large in the coming races. Drivers are penalized ten places on the grid for every extra ICE they use, and a further five places for any other component outside of the allocation of four.

The teams had been discussing a possible extension of the allocation to its 2014 level of five, but no firm decision has been reached.

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.