Button admits to exaggerating McLaren issues in Spain

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Jenson Button has admitted that he may have exaggerated McLaren’s problems at the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago when he said that the car was “scary to drive”.

Button endured a difficult race in Barcelona, finishing 16th as the team’s tough start to life with Honda power units continued into the European season.

Speaking after the race, the Briton made no secret of his frustration, even going as far to say that the team would not score any points in 2015 if its fortunes did not change.

However, Button admitted in Wednesday’s FIA press conference ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend that he had overplayed the team’s issues, and that many of his concerns were allayed in the two-day test that followed the race in Barcelona.

“Yeah, as you might have noticed, I was very outspoken,” Button said. “When emotions are running high you always exaggerate things. It was a tough race for me in Barcelona.

“It was good to have the test three days later, also in Barcelona, to really put everything right. The car felt much nice to drive, much more consistent, especially on the long-run pace. We also had some new parts to test for this season, but also specifically for here.

“So, really end of the test, happy and you could see how far we have come since February, as a whole team but especially Honda and the Japanese side of the team.

“There was so much more confidence within and really happy to complete the amount of laps we did but also to do a lot of very useful work. It was a really good day and hopefully we can carry that through to this weekend.”

Button won the Monaco Grand Prix back in 2009, and spoke about the importance of qualifying on the Saturday ahead of the race, saying that he felt his pole position was wholly conducive to his race win.

“I think Monaco, as we all know, it’s very difficult to overtake,” Button said. So Saturday is probably more important than Sunday.

“Probably the most important pole position I’ve ever had, yeah, and that really made my weekend.”

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.