Tost expecting “crash period” for Sainz and Verstappen

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Scuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost does not feel surprised by the impressive start that rookie drivers Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen have made to the 2015 Formula 1 season, but expects both to suffer a ‘crash period’ at some point this year.

Sainz (20) and Verstappen (17) joined Toro Rosso for 2015 to form the youngest driver line-up in the history of the sport.

However, their inexperience has not held them back as the duo has secured four top ten finishes in the opening five races of the 2015 season.

Speaking to the official Formula 1 website, Tost said that he was not surprised by their strong starts to life in F1, saying that their talent has been clear from the very beginning.

“I expected it from them because otherwise they would not drive for us,” Tost said. “They both have shown that they are capable of being in the Red Bull driver pool.

“We had a tough winter to prepare them, but we successfully managed it as the first races have shown. I always said that if we give them a fast and reliable car they will always finish among the ten best, otherwise we could never have targeted P5 in the constructors’ championship.”

However, Tost admitted that he is expecting their form to dip at some point across the course of the year, believing it to be normal for rookie drivers in the sport.

“Yes, there will come a crash period,” Tost said. “You cannot expect from such young drivers to have a flawless season, but we are prepared for that.”

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.